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The gravesites are unknown to Maori and there is no Maori "wahi-tapu" covering them as a result...these are not and have never been Maori burial grounds.
The iwis don't even know they're there or, if they do, they're not telling anyone... I know some Maori people who have been involved in the "relocation" of remains of this type.
Only certain designated people are allowed to gather specimens and that doesn't include you or I.
Should you wish to go and gather specimens, I can tell you of 3 sizable locations where there are graves of the "tall ones"..Caucasoid people who predated Maori to these shores by thousands of years.
Another point is that some older Cook island friends of mine report being able to converse freely with native speakers of NZ Maori, but are not able to understand, or be understood by school taught ones.
Te Karere is apparently, in the main, just gobbledegook.
I have learned that you really need to HEAR it spoken from a NATIVE speaker before you can say you can speak it.
It is an indisputable fact that there were large groups of red headed, brown headed and blond people in this country before the coming of the Maori and that Maori lived contemporaneously with them for what could be several centuries before overwhelming and annihilating them.
Maori oral traditions about these people abound and "throwback" traits to these early people were very much in evidence throughout the 1800's before Maori had interrelated, to any great degree, with incoming colonial Europeans.
Cook Island school kids to my knowledge are STILL strapped for speaking the lingo in school, yet the Cook Island language is still alive. Maori made the mistake of NOT TEACHING their children the language, hence it's death. Like you I am NOT racist, in fact I am fascinated with pre-Euro Maori, but I think that in the main they were a vastly different people than they are today.
Another thing I have noticed is that Cook Islanders really converse in their language, and joke around, and swear at each other in it for a laugh. I think that you are being accused of being so because you DARE to express your opinions. It tends to win the argument for them without them actually having to put up a fight.