Documentary series on Austronesian origins in Taiwan premieres on National Geographic

A documentary series exploring the origins of the Austronesian speaking peoples starting in Taiwan, and expanding as far away as New Zealand and Easter Island, premiers on National Geographic tonight, February 18, at 9:00 pm.

The three part series will explore language, shipbuilding, tattoos, architecture, and arts and crafts, and will be aired in more than 40 countries in the Asia Pacific region. The second episode will air on February 25, and the final episode on March 4.

The National Geographic production team traveled to Taiwan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Easter Island, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, and other seven regions to explore the migration and diffusion of Austronesian languages ​​from Taiwan, and to explore the relationship between Taiwan’s indigenous peoples, and Austronesian speaking peoples across southeast Asia and the Pacific.

In Austronesian languages, “Hawaiki” is the name for the Polynesian mythological homeland, where all the tribes lived together before they dispersed across several islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Co-hosts Yosifu, a painter from the Taiwan indigenous Amis ethnic group, and British historian Julian Davison embark on a journey to discover if Taiwan may be that mythical homeland from which the colonization of the Pacific started.

Yosifu and Davison explore clues hidden in ancient symbols such as tattoos, architecture and megalithic culture as far away as Easter Island.

Indigenous painter Yosefu, and historian Julian Davison
Indigenous Amis painter Yosefu, and historian Julian Davison.

Taiwan’s Council of Indigenous Peoples held a launch ceremony in Taipei yesterday, February 17, attended by CIP Minister Icyang Parod and the documentary’s director Stefano Centini.

Yosifu said at the launch: “Taiwanese people often have stereotypes about aboriginal culture. I hope that through the program, more people can more understand the land of Taiwan and the culture of the aborigines, and respect the culture of the aborigines and Austronesian languages. All Taiwan aborigines can watch the show ‘Secrets of the Ocean Tribes,’ and I hope that through this show, the tribes can better understand their own culture and be proud of their identity as aborigines.”

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