New research suggests most Pacific populations came from Taiwan more than 5000 years ago.
Language evolution researchers at the University of Auckland say the Austronesian language family appears to have originated from the small indigenous population of Taiwan.
Austronesian is of the largest language families in the world, spreading from Madagascar to Hawaii to the South Pacific.
Researcher Professor Russell Gray says the research provides insight into the impressive speed with which the migration into the Pacific occurred.
He says the Austronesians spread across the seven thousand kilometre distance between the Philippines and Polynesia in less than one thousand years, using very sophisticated technology for its time.