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Cousins Across The Sea| 57mins
Director: Peter Marsh | Producer: Plummtree Productions
Focus Years: 2013 | Country: Australia
Subject Tags: australia, culture, discoveries, migration, oceania, science
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
An Ancient Legend lies buried deep in the vaults of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu; a legend that holds a secret so precious that its very existence has been hidden from the Hawaiian people for more than two centuries. Explorers Peter Marsh and Gabi Plumm set out on a voyage of discovery, determined to get to the truth – does this Legend tell the real story of where the Hawaiian people first came from in the first place or are the myriad scientific papers right? Beginning at the Waipio Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii, they are taken down a steep and twisting road into the lush valley that is bordered by steep, forbidding slopes and dramatic waterfalls. They are in search of the grave of Solomon Peleiholani, the author of the manuscript describing the Ancient Legend of Hookumu Ka Lani Hookumu Ka Honua. Accompanied by Hulalani, a descendant of the Royal Family that lived in the valley, they search amongst burial stones and petroglyphs in the hope of finding clues. Thwarted by the debris of ancient tsunamis that covers evidence of pre-historical habitation, they leave empty handed but undeterred. Still determined to get to the bottom of the legend’s veracity and the role that folklore played in the lives of the ancient peoples of the Pacific, Gabi and Peter head to Kauai where an historian named Aletha Kaohi outlines the role that oral histories and chanting plays in the preservation of culture and history. Recognizing the need to compare the Hawaiian oral histories with those of the people of their legendary homeland, Gabi and Peter head to Haida Gwaii, just south of Alaska - the land of Kalonikakeke - mentioned in the legend as being the ancestral provenance of the Hawaiian Royal Family of Waipio Valley. In Haida Gwaii, they talk with a Haida language teacher who recounts the traditions of training young children in word-for-word knowledge of their sacred legends as well as a Haida archeologist who looks very Hawaiian. He regales them with stories of similarities between the Polynesians and the Haida people and outlines some very good reasons why the Haida might have left their homeland for fairer skies. Armed with information from the historians, language teachers, and genealogists, they are ready to tackle the science that insists that the colonisation of Hawaii began in the 13th century. Interviewing an archeologist, Grant Keddie, the curator of Archaeology at the British Columbia Museum in Victoria Canada, they are surprised to learn of his support for their theory as he talks in detail about the possibilities of a Northwest Coastal provenance and the abundant research and findings of Thor Heyerdahl. Nose to the ground, Gabi and Peter follow the trail to the mountains of Bella Coola, British Columbia, where ancient petroglyphs and a First Nation historian talks about Thor Heyerdahl, his sons and the connections between the Maori of New Zealand and the North West Coast. But a fly in the ointment—in the form of the controversy that says that the ancestors of the Polynesians come from Melanesia 3500 years ago through the ‘Lapita people’—causes Gabi and Peter to delve further into this scientific theory and dig deeper into the comparisons between DNA, tools, sailing craft and burial practices together with ancient trading routes, the spread of creatures and plants that suggest a closer contact with the Americas than was previously thought. Excited by their accumulating evidence, they fly to New Zealand where further important information comes to light that confirms that the people of Hawaii, New Zealand and Canada are so similar that they must have been related at some time in the past. Back in Bella Coola, Haida Gwaii and Washington State, USA, more ancient legends are told, all appearing to recount the same story—that of a cataclysmic event that plunged the earth into a deep shadow the color of copper for many generations. Could this have been caused by the comet strike 12,900 years ago? And could the post ice age rapid rise in sea levels since this time be the flood mentioned in the Hookumu Ka Lani Hookumu Ka Honua? Following the trail of these ancient histories Peter and Gabi investigate the waters around the Hawaiian Island of Moloka’i, where sunken fish ponds can be seen from the air; remnant islands with sacred heiaus (sacred sites), engineered ditches and sophisticated fishponds come into view and they go back to see Aletha who expounds on the stories of the Menehune. Aletha tells them that the First People were the Menehune and when the warrior priest Pa’ao first invaded Hawaii in 1240 AD the Menehune were put to work and became the slaves. Pa’ao corrupted the leaders and their idols and changed a peaceful system into a warring world; a world of punishment and human sacrifice, a world of death penalties. The date of this conquest is the date used by many scientific papers to establish the earliest date of conquest and colonization of the islands – a date that Peter and Gabi are discovering has little to do with the arrival of the first peoples of Hawai’i. Knowing they are getting to the bottom of the riddle of the buried legend, they visit ancient Hawaiian Heiau and discover once again the disparity in chronology between oral traditions and the "official" history of Hawai’i. It seems the Hookumu Ka Lani Hookumu Ka Honua is indeed correct, and Peter and Gabi ask that Solomon Peleiholani’s place in history be re-established and the ancient legend be allowed to breathe again and be told to Hawaiian people for them to know the reality of their true ancestry.
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