This blog is about my discoveries and experiences in genetic genealogy focusing mainly on autosomal DNA where I figure out how my matches and I connect.  As a Kanaka Maoli [aboriginal Hawaiian], I am learning how complex autosomal DNA can be when looking for close matches among other Polynesians.

Polynesians are the results of successive founder’s effects and have gone through several bottle necking which resulted in the lack of genetic diversity.  As Polynesians slowly began moving towards the east, the lack of genetic diversity increased causing the extreme results that eastern Polynesians, i.e. Hawaiians & Maoris.

The scientific evidence confirms what we already knew from our oral traditions, that we come from the same few ancestors who came from different parts of Polynesia.

Kalani Mondoy



33 thoughts on “About

  1. I don’t know if this will help or not concerning the Bot 15 and 17 DNA. I might be able to help a bit with the story. My father is on the Colonial Spanish roles in North America. Meaning, his ancestors where in South America at the time these men were there, and probably when they passed. Since there were no women on those ships to my knowledge, This would mean a Spanish man, would have to had a child with a woman related to Bot 15 and 17, as Im related to both. Or maybe one, and they inter married? I am still working on my fathers Spanish history, as he passed before I met him, and Im adopted. I have no one to ask. Im filling in the blanks rather quickly. Some how that Native child ended up in North America. Although Im not sure how many generations it took? My point being, the Spanish did have something to do with this. I dont’ know if they went to the islands? Or traded with people that did? I do know that some where along the line, a Spanish man, had a child with daughter of Bot 15 and 17. I hope this helps?


    • So what I did not say, is that recently (I think it was back in June?) it was revealed that basically the Botocudo skulls were mislabeled. Actually, it was found in the archives of the former Wellington Colonial Museum (now known as Te Papa Tongarewa) that there was a Maori and a Moriori skull that coincided with the dates of when the skulls were catalogued in Rio. They haven’t repatriated those skulls yet.


  2. Morena Kalani,

    Your work is facinating! I wonder if you could assist us with something?

    We have all taken the ancestry DNA test and my wife’s dad is “100% Polynesian.” He is Samoan born but what is interesting is that he is “4th cousins of closer” at high probability with New Zealanders with only Maori and Pakeha ancestors.

    I’ve also done the test and what I know is that someone who connects to you genetically as closely as I’ve described above will mean there are fairly “close” traceable ancestors – and usually closer than 4th cousins. Plus he has quite a few more Maori cousins more distantly.

    I had originally just assumed that due to generic closeness between Maori and Samoan meant that there will be connections generations ago and that’s what we would be seeing. Having read your blog I’m now thinking there must be an actual recent common ancestor however.

    Do you have any suggestions? Thanks in advance.


    • Hey Nick,

      What does morena mean? I know of one meaning. 😀

      Polynesians lack genetic diversity. That’s the short version. Samoans and Tongans being western Polynesians and much, much older than the rest of us are much more diverse than eastern Polynesians like Tahitians, Maoris and Hawaiians. This is why Hawaiians and Maoris and Tahitians are close matches to each other. My mother’s matches (from August when I last counted) showed 133 possible 2nd – 3rd cousins (predicted 2nd cousins), and many of them are Maoris, not all Hawaiians.

      The Samoans and Tongans will come up as a more distant match, again because they’re more diverse than eastern Polys. Imagine a bowl of M&M candies in various colors like red, blue, green, yellow & orange. That’s western Polynesians. Then some of those M&Ms are taken out of that bowl, like when a group of Polynesians left that area, to start a population in a new area. The new founding population begins to marry among each other and produce offspring. Their offspring will carry their DNA. In a bowl, that could be just some red and blue, a few yellow and no orange. Since there’s a lot of red and blue, there is a greater chance of that color appearing more, just as certain traits or segments of DNA can appear in a population if there’s more of it.

      Then again it is repeated, people leave that new island for yet another, only some. In a bowl of M&Ms, that could mean maybe the red, maybe the blue, maybe it could be just the yellow and blue. And in turn that is passed on and so forth.

      So, eastern Polys are basically that one or two or three colors. And no, the proximity had nothing to do with it, esp. if we look at the linguistic evidence plus we have oral traditions. For the Maoris, they have ties to Hawaiki and Rangiatea according to their traditions. Ra’iatea’s old name was Havai’i. And it was from Tahiti did the last expansion move out to the north (Hawaii), east (easter island) and south west area (aotearoa).


      • Aloha Kalani. I am trying to figure out my step father’s (Makanui, Kealoha, and Kihei) DNA and genealogy. He is 100% Polynesian, has a long family history of generations of Hawaiians yet is closely related to many Maori and Cook Islanders. I have yet to read all of your blog as it is extensive but is there a chance that Cook Islanders sailed to Hawaii before and after Western contact? Or do rely on theories of sea voyaging?


      • Hi Deborah,
        Many of us Polynesians getting DNA tests will show matches to every other Polynesian. I have matches to Cook Island Maoris, Maoris, Tahitians, a few Fijians, Samoans, Tongans and even descendants from people of Norfolk (going back to the Mutiny on Pitcairn island) to name a few.

        Unfortunately at AncestryDNA you cannot tell a true 2nd – 3rd cousin match without a chromosome browser. Transferring the raw data over to GENESIS (GEDmatch.com) or FTDNA or even MyHeritage, you can analyze the DNA segments better there.

        While there may have been a few ships from the south in the 1700 – 1800s after the time Europeans landed in the Hawaiian islands, the chances of that other Polynesian ancestor producing over 40,000 Polynesians who just so happened got DNA tested is close to 0%.


  3. Im an archaeologist and I may have some info for you. Contact me quickly if you can I got a report going in this week. I really need to find out some years of death for the 2 LUI’s and/or John Isaac Lewis. And also places of internment.


  4. KiaOra 🙂 plz excuse my complete ignorance around Polynesian DNA but question i have is my Uncle who is supposedly NZ Maori for 20 or so generations has FTDNA matches all around the 600cms mark all belonging to Kalani MONDOY family.Can you plz help make sense of this as we would have assumed that Hawaiin DNA would show but not at that high level? Nga Mihi julez


  5. You’re welcome!

    It is interesting, as we know we are cousins, but to see how DNA predicts a much, much closer prediction despite the 8 centuries of isolation.


    • Most definately it also confuses the mix when trying to sort thru gedmatches lolz..There is one match which is 795cms and is no way the uncle or brother it says the match would be.
      So really we may not find current generation matches as all could be the big mix from ions ago?


      • When looking at something that close, look at the largest segment or longest block. They should be well over 20cM, preferably more than 30cM.


  6. I’ve really enjoyed following your blog, the work you’ve done is fantastic! I have to admit, I get lost sometimes in just how much information there is on this! I wanted to ask you for some start-up advice for someone who is about to go on some ancestory hunting of their own!

    My boyfriend is Hawaiian, Guamanian, and Filipino. He doesn’t know what percentage of his DNA comes from each or if there are other polynesian groups in there as well. I was going to get a DNA kit for him around christmas so he could figure it out but most of them seem lacking in information. If he gets a test back that says 45% polynesian and 55% southeast asian, he won’t really learn anything from it. What test should I get for him that will get him the most information and the biggest bang for my buck? What additional research could I do with his genetic code to reveal more about where his ancestors came from?



    • Hi Kellen,

      Thank you! MyHeritageDNA.com has a sale still as they are new. It’s only $69, so check it out. I think the sale is until Oct 8th? I could be wrong. But they seem to be good with separating the Filipino and Hawaiian, at least for me. But for others, if we have a small percentage of European, that is reduced or removed. And since your bf is Guamanian (Chamorro?), that would definitely affect the results as I’ve yet to see someone of Chamorro & Filipino background get tested. Not to mention combined with Hawaiian, definitely would be interesting to see!

      If you end up getting a DNA test from Ancestry (currently not on sale), you can always upload the raw data (after receiving the results) to MyHeritageDNA.com for free, while that free upload lasts. That may change in the future.

      How much has he traced on his Guamanian & Filipino side? I only ask about those lines as I’m unfamiliar with Guamanian records and know that Filipinos don’t know how to access records to research their Filipino side.


  7. What was the difference of MyHeritage vs. Ancestry or whatever test you took? Now with the Polynesia category that they have, although anyone admixed with European I’m sure some of that vanished.


    • Here’s the strange thing. My mom is not pure Hawaiian but it is her majority. My father is East Asian.

      I got 52% Polynesian which makes no sense. If my mother was 100% Hawaiian the most I should get is 50%. My mother has European, Chinese and some other things. My sister on 23andMe got African and European among other things but I didn’t get them in the luck of the draw.

      I did use some of the calculators on Gedmatch and got about 15-18% Papuan/Australoid. I was shocked as it does coincide with the 70/30% of SE Asian/Papuan for Polynesian females (My mother). If my dad were Hawaiian I would have expected more. I’m starting to believe that Native Hawaiians are more Australoid than many Samoans. Perhaps the small group that went to Tahiti and eventually Hawaii were Australoid. In fact, the Kamehamehas did look more Australoid too when compared to the Samoans.

      If you could take a look at it, I’d be grateful. You obviously know what’s going on.


      • Chinese will get about 10% POLYNESIA if they test at Ancestry. So you can estimate the amount from there.

        What about MH, was it more accurate for your Polynesian side?

        Here’s my tree and what I am GENEALOGICALLY.

        And these are the various DNA results I got and I created a box for each company and how my mixes would show up, but this is on the continental level since being more specific will be less accurate.

        For the various GEDmatch calculators, I’ve seen people are pretty much in line with the 70% to 30% East Asian vs. Melanesian/Oceanian ratio.



  8. Interesting. Would you recommend taking the other tests for autosomal even though I already did one?

    Would love to see Polynesian results for the Y Chromosome like you did with the autosomal because it wouldn’t work for me because my mom is Polynesian. Many articles say that it favors (and in some cases, 100%) Papuan.

    My question is, if the Y Chromosome is 100% Papuan, does it in anyway affect the autosomal DNA? What about the MtDNA?

    By the way, I requested access to the spreadsheet to input my numbers.


  9. Here are some articles I have regarding Melanesian in Y DNA. I had read from the Anthropological Review from the 1870s where they had found skulls sizes of all 3 races (Mongoloid, Caucasus and Negroid) in Samoa. It posited the theory that there were at least 3 different waves of migrations around the area of Samoa. Can’t find it now though but it was on Google Books.

    Melanesian origin of Polynesian Y chromosomes (2000)

    Maori Origins, Y-Chromosome Haplotypes and Implications for Human History in the Pacific (2001)

    Melanesian origin of Polynesian Y chromosomes (2002)

    The Quest for Origins: Who First Discovered and Settled the Pacific Islands? (2003)

    Matrilineality and the Melanesian Origin of Polynesian Y Chromosomes (2003)

    Melanesian origin of Polynesian Y chromosomes (2006)

    A Polynesian Motif on the Y Chromosome: Population Structure in Remote Oceania (2007)

    Population Genetic Structure and Origins of Native Hawaiians in the Multiethnic Cohort Study (2012)

    The Global Prehistory of Human Migration pg 228 (2014)


  10. I saw Botocudo in this reading. I have no idea how to read any of this stuff but I thought it might help with your studies. I’m Samoan/Niuean but it seems that I am more SEA than anything. It kinda confirms the latest migration theory starting from Taiwan, at least for me.
    Kit Num: A943150
    Threshold of components set to 1.000
    Threshold of method set to 0.25%
    Personal data has been read. 20 approximations mode.
    MDLP K11 Modern 4-Ancestors Oracle
    This program is based on 4-Ancestors Oracle Version 0.96 by Alexandr Burnashev.
    Questions about results should be sent to him at: Alexandr.Burnashev@gmail.com
    Original concept proposed by Sergey Kozlov.
    Many thanks to Alexandr for helping us get this web version developed.

    MDLP K11 2xOracle and OracleX4

    Admix Results (sorted):

    # Population Percent
    1 SEA 74.35
    2 Oceanic 24.41

    Finished reading population data. 161 populations found.
    11 components mode.


    Least-squares method.

    Using 1 population approximation:
    1 Botocudo_Amerindian @ 26.591413
    2 Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic @ 68.762123
    3 Oase1_Upper_Paleolithic @ 70.968597
    4 Ancient_Australian @ 72.224655
    5 GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian @ 74.624107
    6 Iron_Age @ 75.715820
    7 Russia_LBA @ 80.173485
    8 Cioclovina1_Paleolithic @ 80.470444
    9 Paglicci108_Gravettian @ 82.407150
    10 Kostenki12_Upper_Paleolithic @ 84.329735
    11 Muierii2_Upper_Paleolithic @ 84.745567
    12 Ostuni2_Gravettian @ 85.372513
    13 Kostenki14_Upper_Paleolithic @ 85.985855
    14 Karasuk_BA @ 86.413017
    15 Paglicci138_Gravettian @ 86.803368
    16 Vestonice14_Gravettian @ 86.822121
    17 Russia_IA @ 87.439629
    18 Ostuni1_Gravettian @ 87.749611
    19 Vestonice13_Gravettian @ 88.058006
    20 Okunevo_BA @ 88.243568

    Using 2 populations approximation:
    1 50% Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic +50% Botocudo_Amerindian @ 46.025173

    Using 3 populations approximation:
    1 50% Ancient_Australian +25% Paglicci108_Gravettian +25% Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.867977

    Using 4 populations approximation:
    1 Ancient_Australian + GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 55.340717
    2 GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 55.546524
    3 Ancient_Australian + Iron_Age + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 55.946125
    4 Ancient_Australian + GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + Oase1_Upper_Paleolithic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 55.958981
    5 GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + Oase1_Upper_Paleolithic + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.064964
    6 Ancient_Australian + Paglicci108_Gravettian + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.088322
    7 GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + Iron_Age + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.261730
    8 Ancient_Australian + Iron_Age + Oase1_Upper_Paleolithic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.347298
    9 Iron_Age + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.360130
    10 Ancient_Australian + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.388733
    11 Ancient_Australian + GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + Iron_Age + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.478420
    12 Ancient_Australian + Oase1_Upper_Paleolithic + Paglicci108_Gravettian + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.579586
    13 Iron_Age + Oase1_Upper_Paleolithic + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.661850
    14 GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + Iron_Age + Oase1_Upper_Paleolithic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.679344
    15 GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + Oase1_Upper_Paleolithic + Oase1_Upper_Paleolithic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.723000
    16 Ancient_Australian + Ancient_Australian + Paglicci108_Gravettian + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.867977
    17 Ancient_Australian + Oase1_Upper_Paleolithic + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.880901
    18 Ancient_Australian + Ancient_Australian + GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.904797
    19 GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + GoyetQ56_16_Gravettian + Ust_Ishim_Upper_Ãœaleolothic + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.917614
    20 Ancient_Australian + Iron_Age + Paglicci108_Gravettian + Botocudo_Amerindian @ 56.995007



  11. You mom is on my list of matches, but my Kit# is on my previous post if you’d like to compare. I wouldn’t know anything about it/how to read it but if it helps you, that’s cool.


  12. Kia ora Kalani,
    My mother is a Maori from Aotearoa/New Zealand and she has completed a DNA test through Ancestry.com (AU). Our query relates to her result of 100% Polynesian – which given both sides of her whanau/family are from Aotearoa isn’t unusual itself, except for the widely believed ‘myth?’ that there are no (I understand that as of April 2017 there is now one) full-blooded Maori left in Aotearoa. Having looked at her results we are struggling to accept their accuracy as she has no ‘noise’ across any other region, making her about as pure a Polynesian as you can get, for a Maori from Aotearoa. Is there a way to gain more confidence in these results, as we are just so surprised by them? NB: I have done a search for Kalani Mondoy and there is a 4th cousin relationship.
    Any help would be so appreciated Kalani.
    Nga mihi


    • Aloha e RL,

      Yes, there are still full-blooded Maoris just as there are full-blooded Hawaiians despite what some people would want everyone to believe. And from the samples that these DNA companies have been gathering, they tend to focus more on Western Polynesians, basically Samoans and Tongans who are less likely to be admixed anyway. So the fact that eastern Polynesians like Maoris, Hawaiians, Cook Island Maoris, Tahitians and others are coming up exactly what they are shows how accurate or fairly accurate the results could be.

      In my mother’s case, she is genealogically 85% Hawaiian, and Ancestry is fairly accurate saying that she is 83% Polynesia. At other companies, the amounts vary slightly but still come up fairly accurate to what my mother is genealogically.

      But my question is if you mother isn’t full Maori, then that would mean somewhere in your line you should have a non-Maori ancestor. Have you found that ancestor? Genealogy research should help clarify some things. But it could also reveal conflicting results as well.



      • Thank you for such a helpful and quick response Kalani. I believe the struggle is due to the belief, here in Aotearoa, that ‘all’ Maori have been culturally blended at some point since the European arrived. With regards to my mother, there are at least 2 ‘stories’ that we are aware of that refer to 1) a pakeha/ European male/ancestor from the late 1800s and 2) a black/African male/ancestor who also blended into my Maori whakapapa but in the early 1800s. If these stories were to have any truth then surely some DNA residue would be found in mother’s result. As I say, the 2 men I refer to above are talked about within the whanau, but there is some uncertainty around them. Other than these two men we don’t believe there is any other tupuna who were not of Maori descent. Your thoughts?

        Nga mihi


      • Aloha!

        Yes, you would have seen in the DNA results any African or European of which your mother does not. But as you mentioned, there was already uncertainty about their identities. Which means that the 100% Polynesia should not be a surprise. If you knew for a fact that there was a European ancestor or know for a fact that there was an African ancestor and STILL showed up with 100% Polynesia, THEN you should be worried as we see a lot of unexpected results.

        But in the case you described, it isn’t unexpected.


  13. Aloha Kalani,
    You’re administrating an account for a “JA” on ancestry and the family is related to mine. Could you shed any light on our connection. We are searching for information on our great greats. Heres the DNA screens:
    Ana (3rd great grandfather) and Kaluakini (3rd great grandmother)…shows a connection between Samuel Ana and Hookano and Kanae.
    The second screen shows:
    Halulukahi (3rd Great grandfather) and Kawelomahakalua (3rd Great grandmother) who’s daughter: Hattie Huehue Kawelomahakalua Halulukahi Kalua (2nd great grandmother) as sister of John Kaapuiki.

    My question is if you know if there half siblings or siblings and do you know anything about my great greats?
    Any information or direction would be greatly appreciated!!! Mahalo!!



    • Hi Stephanie,

      You mentioned Hattie as a sister to JOhn Kaapuiki. John only had 2 sisters that the family mentioned. John’s parents were Kukahuna and Kalahapa (or Kalahope).

      These people were from Waiakea?

      You can email me at mamoahina, and it’s at gmail.com.



  14. Hello Kalani, Love your work. I am a historian writing a chapter on Pacific connections with America for a Cambridge Uni Press book. I’d love to use the map you made in one of your posts (can’t locate html now) of Austronesian languages etc. CUP I think want to render their own version, but we’d like to credit your composition and labelling. I seek permission, as well as happy to pay for limited rights of course. Can you contact me at kfullagar@gmail.com? I am also at katefullagar.com


  15. Aloha Kalani,

    I’m wondering if I can chat with you because we are matched as relatives, but also because of your authority in the DNA/Genealogy world. My grandmother Nancy comes from the Kapuahiloa family, who had married Alice Kamaka from Sam Kamaka (Big Island) and Julia Kaneiakama. I can trace Kaneiakama just fine, and I am related to scads of Kamaka’s, although I’m unclear on Sam’s parents and cannot trace past him. Also – going back to my great grandfather, Nancy’s father, is a mystery. His name is David Kapuahiloa and he is related to S.W. Kapuahiloa as well as Isaac Kapuahiloa, but I’m not clear how. He’s also a cousin of either Samuel Kaheiki (aka Kaahiki) or Mary Emele Poai (aka Emily Kooio for whatever reason).

    Any insight would be helpful. You can reach me at freshstarz@gmail.com



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