Polynesians are the indigenous people who hail from the Pacific Islands. Over the years, some of their home territories have become occupied by European settlers. However, there are still vast numbers of the local people who have excelled in certain areas and have gone on to become household names. The indigenous people of the region include the Maoris, the Hawaiians, the Samoans, and the Fijians. However, there are numerous other peoples, including the smallest group which are the 1500 Tokelauan people who come from the island of Tokelau.
In all it is estimated that there are around 2 million Polynesians surviving today, with the largest contributor’s being the 790,000 New Zealand Maoris. As time passes more of the populations are experiencing cross breeding, with multi-racial populations becoming more influential. A number of Polynesians has made their name in Hollywood and one current star of the screen is Dwayne Johnson. He is half Samoan, with his mother coming from Samoa and his father a black Canadian. Johnson made his name is professional wrestling where he became known around the world as “the Rock”.
He is regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the history of the sport and his profile led him into acting. He has achieved phenomenal success with starring roles in the “The Mommy Returns’ “Game Plan” and “Gridiron Gang”. He has also appeared in television series, with his performances in the football series “Ballers” gaining further recognition.
Another current Hollywood star who hails from Polynesia is the Australian actor Russell Crowe. He has a mix of different heritages, but on his grandmother side he has Maori blood. Crowe shot to fame with his performance as the Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the Ridley Scott 2002 production of “Gladiator”.
Since that break through, as well as staring in number of hit films such as “LA Confidential” and “American Gangster”, he has also turned his hand to directing movies. He has taken a keen role in following sports and he is the co-owner of the Sydney based Rugby League side, the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Sport is certainly an area where Pacific Islanders excel in. Fiji have become renowned for producing the best 7-a-side rugby teams in the world. Year after year, this small nation regularly competes with the best and they are rarely out of the top 4 teams in every competition they participate in.
During their most successful period in the 1990s and the 2000s, they were led by their talisman Waisale Serevi. He was known among the players as the “the wizard” and he was regarded as the greatest player to ever play 7-a-side rugby.
As well as playing in three world in the fifteen a side version of the game Serevi led the Fijians to many of their famous victories. There were times that it appeared impossible for the opposition to lay a hand on him as a result of his speed and quickness of mind. Many of their toughest and greatest wins came against the All Blacks who have also had a number of Polynesian players playing for them.
No name had been bigger in New Zealand ruby in recent years than Jonah Lomu. Many Maoris have made a huge impression on All Black Rugby, but Lomu was, in fact, Tongan. Born in the country, he was raised in Tonga until the age of 5 when he moved to Auckland. He played on the wing but he was huge man standing 6 foot 5 inches high and, weighing more than 18 stones, he was at times unstoppable. He became the youngest man to play for the All Blacks when he made his debut at the age of 19 years and 45 days. He played 63 times scoring 37 tries, and he became the first global superstar of rugby.
However, in the later stages of his career, he suffered from health problems, and he died at the age of 40 as a result of a heart attack being brought on by kidney issues. He score more tries than any other player at the World Cup Finals tournament and he was recognized around the world.