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The oldest rocks in the region are found in New Zealand and are believed to be about 510 million years old.

The oldest Polynesian rocks outside of Zealandia are to be found in the Hawaiian Emperor Seamount Chain and are 80 million years old.

Polynesia is generally defined as the islands within the Polynesian Triangle, although there are some islands that are inhabited by Polynesian people situated outside the Polynesian Triangle.

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nēsos "island") is a subregion of Oceania, made up of more than 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean.

Polynesia is characterized by a small amount of land spread over a very large portion of the mid and southern Pacific Ocean.

Most Polynesian islands and archipelagos, including the Hawaiian Islands and Samoa, are composed of volcanic islands built by hotspots.

The results of research at the Teouma Lapita site (Efate Island, Vanuatu) and the Talasiu Lapita site (near Nuku'alofa, Tonga) published in 2016 supports the Express Train model; although with the qualification that the migration bypassed New Guinea and Island Melanesia.

The conclusion from research published in 2016 is that the initial population of those two sites appears to come directly from Taiwan or the northern Philippines and did not mix with the ‘Australo Papuans’ of New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.In pre-colonial times, Polynesian populations also existed in the Kermadec Islands, the Auckland Islands and Norfolk Island.However, when European explorers arrived, these islands were uninhabited.Historically, the islands of the South Seas have been known as South Sea Islands, and their inhabitants as South Sea Islanders, even though the Hawaiian Islands are located in the North Pacific.Another term, the Polynesian Triangle, explicitly includes the Hawaiian Islands, as they form its northern vertex.This culture is seen as having adapted and evolved through time and space since its emergence "Out of Taiwan".

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