This map shows the five Austronesian language families in Polynesia. It shows that te reo Māori is most closely related to Cook Islands Māori, Tahitian and Tuamotuan and explains why the Tahitian speaker Tupaia was able to communicate with Māori on James Cook's first voyage in 1769–70.
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Source: K. R. Howe, ed., Vaka moana: voyages of the ancestors: the discovery and settlement of the Pacific. Auckland: David Bateman; Auckland Museum, 2006