These scholars believe that parts of the tradition of Kumuhonua were invented in the 19th century to conform to Biblical traditions.
However, Randie Kamuela Fong of Kamehameha Schools writes, “after careful review of Fornander’s version of the Kumuhonua tradition, the Hawai‘iloa portion bears no resemblance to any biblical account.
The condensed timeframe suggests assumptions about the rates of linguistic evolution and human impact on pristine island ecosystems also need to be revised.
Hunt first recognized how indiscriminate samples excavated on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) could skew radiocarbon dating results.
Although no factual evidence would prove that this strategy of exploration was actually employed by Polynesian navigators, the strategy would have been obvious to anyone familiar with sailing.
The tradition of ‘imi fenua (Hawaiian: ‘imi honua), or “searching for lands,” reported from Hiva and other Polynesian islands, supports such a notion of deliberate exploration.
The return home (westward) would be made easy when the wind shifted back to its normal easterly direction.
After replenishing his supplies, Hawai‘iloa returned home and brought his wife and his children back to Hawai‘i, again using the fixed stars as guides. Some scholars have questioned the authenticity of the tradition of Hawai‘iloa because of similarities between Biblical stories and stories in the tradition of Kumuhonua, of which the story of Hawai‘iloa is a part.
New research indicates human colonization of Eastern Polynesia took place much faster and more recently than previously thought, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa anthropologist Terry Hunt reports.
Polynesian ancestors settled in Samoa around 800 BC, colonized the central Society Islands between AD 10 and dispersed to New Zealand, Hawaiʻi and Rapa Nui and other locations between AD 11.
Whatever the motives and methods of exploration and discovery, once the location of an island was known, it became open to settlement.
The Polynesian migration to Hawai‘i was part of one of the most remarkable achievements of humanity: the discovery and settlement of the remote, widely scattered islands of the central Pacific. While Europeans were sailing close to the coastlines of continents before developing navigational instruments that would allow them to venture onto the open ocean, voyagers from Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa began to settle islands in an ocean area of over 10 million square miles.