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Historically, they had a strong tradition of sailing, using stars to navigate at night.
The term Polynesia was first used in 1756 by French writer Charles de Brosses, and originally applied to all the islands of the Pacific.
DNA analysis of modern Polynesians indicates that there has been intermarriage resulting in a mixed Asian-Papuan ancestry of the Polynesians.
Research at the Teouma and Talasiu Lapita sites implies that the migration and intermarriage, which resulted in the mixed Asian-Papuan ancestry of the Polynesians, The most eastern site for Lapita archaeological remains recovered so far is at Mulifanua on Upolu.
The people of Rotuma have many common Polynesian traits but speak a non-Polynesian language.
Historically, the islands of the South Seas have been known as South Sea Islands, and their inhabitants as South Sea Islanders, even though the Hawaiian Islands are located in the North Pacific.
Another term, the Polynesian Triangle, explicitly includes the Hawaiian Islands, as they form its northern vertex.