By 3 News online staff
A new book out this weekend claims that explorers from Europe and the Middle East found New Zealand not only before the Maori, but before the birth of Jesus Christ.
Maxwell C Hill, Gary Cook and Noel Hilliam's To the End of the Earth contains evidence explorers from Egypt and Greece were here first.
It also contains the sensational claim that Maori god Maui was actually an Egyptian naval navigator.
According to Fairfax NZ, the authors claim to have found skeletons, buildings, a carving of an ancient Greek ship in Taupo and a stone pillar with an accurate map of New Zealand showing Lake Taupo in its pre-eruption shape (somewhere between 180CE and 240CE).
They also cite a huge stone calendar cut into a boulder, marked with figures and rebuses (pictures representing words).
The book's already come under fire however – AUT professor Paul Moon said none of the authors have relevant qualifications in history, archaeology or anthropology, and the maps don't show anything specific.
"This is no evidence at all that people came to New Zealand at this time," he told Fairfax NZ.
"On the contrary, Ptolemy's map shows a complete lack of geographical knowledge about the South Pacific," Moon said.