Irihia is said to be the original homelands of the Maaori race. It was presented as a factual narative by Percy Smith, Elsdon Best and others connected to The Journal of the Polynesian Society founded in 1892 in Auckland New Zealand.
The narrative in which the original homelands were said to be within India traces the Maaori wars and movements into the Pacific Ocean via Java through the saga's of Tawhitinui and Tawhitiroa culminating in the great journey of Ira Panga.
The Society’s aim is the scholarly study of past and present New Zealand Maaori and other Pacific Island peoples and cultures with an attempt to create an official lineal narrative of the discovery and settlement of New Zealand by the Maaori race.
Smith and others had suggested the word Irihia as being derived from the word Sindhava an ancient name for India though there is no direct evidence for this.
Furthermore the few whakapapa links which have been given and bridge the ancient lines into our modern lines are incorrect when dating ancestors.
The earliest dates that can be obtained for the whakapapa given only go back as far as 500 AD.
There is a further confusion within the narrative with the inclusion of Kumara (Sweet Potato) as a food source which the ancestors apparently brought with them from India.
The Kumara plant is indigenous to South America and was introduced to the Pacific Islands from there.
Modern DNA testing, linguistics and archaeology have however shown that the actual ancestors of the Maaori race were the Austronesian (Lapita) people originally from Taiwan and other regions of South-East Asia.
The Austronesian's had reached and settled western Polynesia by as early as 1000 BC.
DNA evidence also shows that the Austronesian poeple also reached the Americas -at least 800 years before any Europeans-, marrying into the native population and thus accounting for the introduction of the Kumara into the Pacific Island nations.
The Tahitians themselves identify as having descended from the Ancient Lapita people.
The great migration from Southeast Asia began around 4000 BC, in which daring seafarers sailed the open ocean in their large double-hulled canoes—using only the sun, stars, wind, ocean currents, and flight patterns of the birds—to navigate to new islands.
Researchers conclude that Tonga and Samoa were settled as early as 1300 BC. From there, another migratory wave brought these new explorers even farther eastward, reaching the Marquesas (Hiva) around 500 BC.
This is further reinforced by the largest concentration of ancient Marae in French Polynesia centred on the island of Huahine which is considered the cradle of Polynesian Culture.
Some of these ancient Marae date back as far as 700 AD.
Over the next several centuries, the voyages continued north to the Hawaiian Islands, east to Easter Island, and south to the Tuamotu Archipelago and the remaining Tahitian Islands.
Raiatea, known historically as Havaaiki, eventually became the religious and cultural centre of the Polynesian Triangle.
From there, around 1000 AD, the canoes proceeded to the Cook Islands and New Zealand, completing the Polynesian Triangle.
The most direct whakapapa link of modern Aotearoa Tangatawhenua to the ancient race of Austronesian’s is through Taputapuaatea Marae upon Ra’iaatea (Raiatea) which was founded before 1000 AD.