Notwithstanding Thor Heyerdahl's adventures upon the Kon-Tiki, his theories about the origins of Polynesians were never taken seriously. All the available archeological and linguistic evidence pointed to Southeast Asia or Melanesia as the ancestral home of today's Polynesians.

Most researchers believed the Polynesian Islands were settled in two waves - one approximately 3000 years ago and the second about 1000 years ago. Recent mitochondrial DNA analysis (mtDNA) supports these views. The majority of Polynesian mitochondria comes from Southeast Asia (94%), with a small minority (4%) coming from the western Pacific. The remaining 2% are of either Asian or European origin. There seems to be none from Native Americans.