Jacinda's OMG moment is part of a growing DNA trend

by Sally Blundell / 21 February, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - DNA related

Jacinda Ardern met her near-identical fourth cousin for the first time on DNA Detectives.

Interest in our ancestry and personal genetic histories has been stimulated by such television programmes as Who Do You Think You Are?, which has had versions in 18 countries, and New Zealand’s DNA Detectives.

Last year, viewers were drawn into the discovery by Jacinda Ardern (in a show shot when she was a mere “political bright spark”) of a near-identical fourth cousin in Athens – that smile, that hair, who knew? – and a highly genetically similar artist-technician “DNA-cousin” in Canada called, simply, White Feather. “My God – you have my teeth,” Ardern said. “I didn’t expect you to look like me. This is amazing … why couldn’t I get the teeth and the olive skin?”

Musician Anika Moa was shown the headstone of ancestor Susannah Martin, hanged as a witch in Salem in 1692 – “OMG!” – and met a third cousin in Hawaii. As she said, “You feel connected to them straight away.”

Actor Erik Thomson was taken to a long house in Haugesund in Norway where his Viking heritage was confirmed – the giveaway clue, a type of Y chromosome variant, is not uncommon in modern Scandinavians and those in the north of the UK. As he said, he had long been drawn to pine forests and snow clad lands.

Whisked over to the Shetland Islands, Thomson visited the croft where his mother was born, in the land his ancestors – Viking and a suspected hint, explained host Richard O’Brien, of Saami – plundered or settled about 1200 years ago. He said he planned to bring his children back. “I feel I have a right to be here and it’s good. It’s really good.”

Video: TVNZ OnDemand

The easy availability of DNA testing has prompted millions to shake their family trees, but what falls out is not always welcome. For more on the new ancestry obsession, pick up a copy of the new Listener.

Latest

10 tips for getting a better night's sleep
100957 2019-01-19 00:00:00Z Health

10 tips for getting a better night's sleep

by The Listener

Don’t use the snooze button on your alarm clock. Alarms spike blood pressure and heart rate, and snooze buttons just repeat the shock.

Read more
Gone in 60 seconds: The hard lessons from the Cryptopia heist
101395 2019-01-18 14:38:51Z Tech

Gone in 60 seconds: The hard lessons from the Cryp…

by Peter Griffin

Time is of the essence in a bank heist, and in the digital world, cryptocurrency tokens can be transferred in a flash and converted to US dollars.

Read more
Escape the hustle and bustle of Queen St at new Auckland central eatery NEO
101383 2019-01-18 09:28:19Z Auckland Eats

Escape the hustle and bustle of Queen St at new Au…

by Alex Blackwood

NEO is a new all-day eatery overlooking Queen St.

Read more
Sir Kim Workman on his fight for criminal justice reform
101134 2019-01-18 00:00:00Z Profiles

Sir Kim Workman on his fight for criminal justice…

by Sally Blundell

By any objective measure, our justice and prison systems are failing. But tireless campaigner Kim Workman says ideas for reform are gaining traction.

Read more
Top rosé wines for summer sipping
100931 2019-01-18 00:00:00Z Wine

Top rosé wines for summer sipping

by Michael Cooper

Not just for the ladies, rosé is a worldwide wine phenomenon.

Read more
Forget Ikea: Meet the Kiwi making furniture the traditional way
101353 2019-01-18 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Forget Ikea: Meet the Kiwi making furniture the tr…

by RNZ

Bay of Islands’ furniture marker and workshop tutor Richard Hare uses hand tools to craft his chairs.

Read more
Azabu opens a new spot in Wynyard Quarter, plus more January food news
101374 2019-01-17 16:12:29Z Auckland Eats

Azabu opens a new spot in Wynyard Quarter, plus mo…

by Alex Blackwood and Jean Teng

What's new to eat in Auckland this January.

Read more
Brexit: What does it mean for NZ trade?
101342 2019-01-17 11:06:05Z Economy

Brexit: What does it mean for NZ trade?

by RNZ

Brexit: Theresa May survives no-confidence vote but what does that mean for NZ trade?

Read more