A Word from Doug White, retired school principal


We all come here from somewhere else

The physical appearance and mannerisms of the group of local people looked very familiar, which felt rather odd as I was a long way from home, 9000km to be exact, on the west coast of Taiwan.

I had chanced upon a group of indigenous Taiwanese whose language, artefacts and DNA have provided us with evidence they are related to New Zealand Maori.

Five thousand years ago the ancestors of these Taiwanese people began an incredible ocean-spanning migration which resulted in some of them becoming the first humans to set foot on Aotearoa/New Zealand about 750 years ago.

Current DNA technology allows any one of us to trace our ancestors’ journey to New Zealand.

It’s just a matter of paying about $100 and then sending a sample of your saliva off to a laboratory.

My own DNA ancestry report indicated my predecessors’ journey to the South Island/Te Wai Pounamu can be traced from northwestern Europe to Scotland before arriving here 170 years ago.

I have had the privilege of attending a citizenship ceremony at the Central Otago District Council chambers officiated over by our mayor, Tim Cadogan.

The new citizens were invited at the ceremony to share something of their journey.

Common sentiments were their passion for living in Central Otago and I had a real sense of the energy, skills and diversity these people bring to our community.

Mayor Tim spoke about the fact that we, or our ancestors, have all come to Central Otago from somewhere else.

We are all immigrants.