Ui-te-Rangiora is believed to have been a 7th-century Māori 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. 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. It has been claimed that in 1886 Lapita pottery shards were discovered on the Antipodes Islands, indicating that Polynesians did reach that far south.
Possible discovery of Antarctica
Very little is known about Ui-te-Rangiora, or about early Polynesia for that matter, but it is told in Māori legends that, around the year 650, Ui-te-Rangiora led a fleet of Waka tīwais southwards in the Southern Ocean until they reached "rocks that grow out of the sea, in the space beyond Rapa". This may be a description of sea ice and icebergs.
- 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.
- Kieran Mulvaney, At the Ends of the Earth: A History of the Polar Regions
- Te Ao Hou The Maori Magazine, no. 59 (June 1967), p. 43
- "Antarctica" Encyclopedia Britannica
- Smith p. 90
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