Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith at Toitu Settlers Museum, photo from the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture webiste.

Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, photo from the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture website.

An lecture hosted by the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture by Lisa Matisoo-Smith, haplogroup T2B4, held at Toitu Settlers Museum on Sunday 10 May 2015.

Evolution leads to a dead end, but everyone has ancestry.  Mitochondrial DNA is separate from nuclear DNA.  Nuclear DNA is half and half from both parents.  Mitochondrial DNA is passed directly from the mother.  Men do not pass on mitochondrial DNA.  Mutations occur in mitochondrial DNA about every ten generations.

We can trace back to a common ancestor in Africa, sometime between 150 000 and 200 000 years before present.  60 000 years ago our ancestors left Africa.  The T haplogroup spread out mostly into Europe, some into India, the Near East, and Asia.

New Zealand was the last landmass settled by humans, about 750 years ago, a diverse population who came from Africa to Aotearoa, of Maori and Pakeha.  For this study a random sampling was taken at farmers’ markets in the main centres.  By all accounts volunteers were keen to get their results.

Maori and Pacific Islanders come out of Haplogroup B.  There are 30 lineages found in New Zealand.  Most results for Maori support oral tradition.   This research can find out the population of pre-European New Zealand.  Eight lineages mapped out for Pacific Islanders now number 200 lineages.

The most common group in the British Islands are Haplogroup H.  They make up about 40% of the population.  They are descendents of the first agricultural population, replacing the hunter / gatherer population, Haplogroup U, that preceded them into Europe.

Dunedin is 36% H1 and H3 from Western Europe, 14% descended from U, the early European hunter-gatherers, and 6% B, Maori and Asians.   There’s more variable distribution than other New Zealand Centres where the results have been examined.  Auckland and Hamilton have more Asian and Pacific Island lineages.  The Lebanese community in Dunedin has ancestry going back to the start of the Neolithic expansion in Europe.  The Chinese Association results bring in the East Asian lineages.  I was surprised to hear that Dunedin Chinese are only 4% H, despite the history of inter-marriage.  Dunedin represents almost all the major non-African mitochondrial DNA.  There are a couple of Native American ancestry, and Australian Aboriginal ancestry, that are not found in Dunedin.

Who we are is a social construct.  There is more diversity in who we have come from than is recognised in our race-based identities.  I wonder who a test of my ancestry would reveal?

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