Maori ancestry is able to be traced back to a people who lived in the Bismarck Archipelago, to the east of New Guinea, approximately 3500 years ago. These inhabitants had a Lapita culture, of which earthenware pots, distinctive and highly coloured, were a
The earliest name for Wellington, from Maori legend, is Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui. In Maori it means "the head of Maui's fish." Caught and pulled to the surface by Polynesian navigator Maui, the fish became the North Island.