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Ui-te-Rangiora is believed to have been a 7th-century Polynesian navigator from the island of Rarotonga. According to Māori legend, Ui-te-Rangiora sailed south and encountered ice floes and icebergs in the Southern Ocean. He called this area of southern ocean Tai-uka-a-pia (sea foaming like arrowroot) due to the ice floes being similar to arrowroot powder.[1] It is also claimed by some[who?] that Ui-te-Rangiora reached the Ross Ice Shelf, although he did not land on it.


The veracity of Ui-te-Rangiora reaching Antarctic waters has been questioned.[2] It has been claimed that in 1886 Lapita pottery shards were discovered on the Antipodes Islands, indicating that Polynesians did reach that far south.[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enderby_Island#History, considerably south of Antipodes in the Auckland group, has been found to have proof of 13th or 14th Century Maori use.[4]

Possible discovery of Antarctica[edit]

Very little is known about Ui-te-Rangiora, or about early Polynesia for that matter, but it is told in Māori legends[5] that, around the year 650, Ui-te-Rangiora led a fleet of Waka tīwai southwards in the Southern Ocean until they reached "rocks that grow out of the sea, in the space beyond Rapa".[6] This may be a description of sea ice and icebergs.


  1. ^ Smith, Stephenson Percy (1898). Hawaiki: the whence of the Maori: with a sketch of Polynesian history, being an introd. to the native history of Rarotonga. Whitcombe & Tombs. pp. 90–91. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  2. ^ Kieran Mulvaney, At the Ends of the Earth: A History of the Polar Regions
  3. ^ Te Ao Hou The Maori Magazine, no. 59 (June 1967), p. 43
  4. ^ Anderson, Atholl. "Subpolar settlement in South Polynesia". Antiquity Magazine. Antiquity Publications. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Antarctica" Encyclopædia Britannica
  6. ^ Smith p. 90