Archived Pages from 20th Century!!
Easter Island, a province of Chile, lies between the west coast of South America and Pitcairn Island, its nearest inhabited neighbour. It is situated in approximately 28 deg 10 min S latitude and 109 deg 30 min W longitude. Santiago, the Chilean capital, is 3790 eastward; Pitcairn is about 1600 km westward. The official Spanish name for the island is Isla de Pascua. Other languages translate it similarly so that in French it is known as Ile de P?ques, German ?sterinsel and so on. It is known also as Rapanui, a Polynesian name dating back to the 1860s. Some early European explorers refered to it as Te Pito o Te Henua (The navel of the world) or Vaihu, both of which are local place names.
The island has an area of 166 sq. km and the 1992 census shows a resident population of 2,770 persons. The coastline mostly is rugged, with few sand beaches, with the interior composed of low gently rolling hills, volcanic in origin. Hangaroa, on the west coast, and adjoining Mataveri are the only settlements, although there are plans for a new town along the south coast, as the population increases. The island is administered by a governor appointed by the Chilean Government. Since 1984, the governor has been an islander. The Chilean peso is the official currency, although US dollars circulate legally. The coat of arms, national anthem, flag and most public holidays are also those of Chile. There are two exceptions. Firstly, 9 September, the day Rapanui was annexed, is celebrated as "Policarpo Toro Day", after the Chilean naval captain responsible for the arrangement. More moveable is "Tapati Rapanui" or Rapanui Week, which takes place usually at the end of January or beginning of February and is a cultural and sporting celebration of life on the island.
Citizenship. Rapanui have Chilean citizenship. Most Islanders over the age of 15 years have at least visited the "Conti" and some have lived there for some time attending school and university. There is some sensitivity locally about the distinction between "Chileans" and Rapanui, those with family and background on the island and those whose roots lie elsewhere in Chile. Roman Catholicism is the prevailing religion, although apostolics and Mormons have small congregations.
Life is informal on the island and dress casual, except for those in prominent role at state occasions. Houses, clothing and public buildings are mainly in Chilean style, with the occasional floral Tahitian pattern in shirts and dresses. People shake hands upon meeting and departing, with those more familiar with one another kissing (female to female and female to male) or giving a strong hug (the "abrazo"). Food is Chilean in style, although island foods such as crayfish, tuna (and other fish), sweet potato and taro are common.
More than 400 vehicles, such as tour buses, Land Rovers and other similar models, run over the few dozen kilometres of mainly unpaved road. There are several hundred motorcycles and farm vehicles. The first sealed road runs east to west from the Church to the Fishermen's Wharf, past the school and post office. Early in 1993, there are plans to cobble stone the main north to south commercial road.
Distinctive Rapanui customs include dancing, string figure story telling and water sports. There are several Islanders who are excellent stone and wood carvers, making replicas of famous Rapanui figures. As well, there are artists working on cloth and some graphic arts, exploring Polynesian themes, but with a contemporary eye.
JusticeThe legal is the same as in Chile and is operated on an island basis. There is a Chilean judge at the court house and a civil registry department. The Carabineros, a National Police force, have about two dozen men stationed on the island who work as the airport police, do traffic patrols and generally maintain order.
Liquor and gambling. Liquor laws are the same as in Chile, with a liberal interpretation. There are penalties for drink driving. There is no formal gambling, apart from soccer pools and private card games. Customs on importing alcohol and tobacco are rarely enforced. There are adequate supplies of Chilean produced alcohol, including the excellent wines, widely available.
There are government scholarships for Rapanui students for higher education on "the Conti" and university study.
Wages. Rates of pay in public employment, the most constant source, are fixed officially in Chile. In 1992, a worker in a government job might expect 60,000 pesos per month (about $A240), while someone employed privately, say in construction or tourism might ask for 140,000 pesos (about $A560). Local labour typically will balance income against cost of living, which is not less than 50% higher on the island than in Santiago. That, coupled with occasional labour shortages and the availability of adequate subsistence through gardens and fishing, means that the cost of labour is highly variable.
Due to its southern location, Rapanui is sub-tropical and oceanic, with trade winds blowing from the east and SE during most of the year. In the austral winter, temperatures can feel quite chilly, especially when combined with wind and rain during the months of July and August. The yearly mean temperature is 22[[ordmasculine]] C, with a variation between 18[[ordmasculine]] (August) and 25[[ordmasculine]]C (January). There appear to be cycles in modern times of drought and storm, with precipitation varying by as much as 1000mm (ie 500mm to 1500mm). The sun feels strong, again with wind, and visitors should wear strong sun protection and hats.
From the late 19th century, the island was turned over to sheep ranching, with around 60,000 head being the average herd. Over two dozen varieties of eucalyptus and other trees were imported from Australia, along with grazing grasses. Since these plantations requiring firing to reproduce adequately, native flora has suffered and largely disappeared. The unique Toromiro exists only in a Swedish botanical garden, with repeated attempts at re-introduction failing. Even inside the relatively protected calderas, native flora struggles for survival. Of the over 200 species found on the island presently, three quarters are human introductions. Sea-birds, a small number of insects and a native lizard are the survivors of the past; the native rat was replaced long ago by the imported European one. Most animals, cats, dogs, horses, cattle, pigs and poultry, are recent importations, as are the numerous cockroaches.
From an Islander point of view, there are three principal villages. Mataveri is the name of the island's airport and the area between that and Rano Kau. For much of the colonial history, Mataveri was the headquarters of the company in charge of the island's commercial exploitation. Today, it is where the Carabineros have their headquarters and it is entirely the place where government housing for various public services is found. Moeroa village runs roughly from the north side of the airport to nearly the government office centre, which is located, along with the municipality, school and church, at Hangaroa. Within those broad areas, there are prominent place names such as Apina, Tahai and so on that identify where people live. There is a growing system of roads in the municipality, each with names, but people rarely use them. Some few people live outside the main settlement area near their plantations.
Spatial orientation is important to Rapanui and instead of greeting with an inquiry about health ("Pehe koe?"), it is common for people to ask from where one is coming ("Maihe koe?") and to where one is going("Kihe koe?". People do not regard such questions as being intrusive.
In general, there is a decline in flora and fauna as one moves from the large, rich Melanesian islands, to the smaller and more remote Polynesian ones. Rapanui is the extreme of this rule. In ancient times, livestock consisted of the Polynesian chicken and rat (Kio`e), there being no evidence of either pigs or dogs. Modern pigs are called `oru ("fat"), whilst cats have taken the usual name for dog as "kuri". Dogs are known by the unique term "Paehenga". Sheep, horses, cattle, pigeons, quail, hawks and ducks have been introduced since European settlement. Jean Baptiste On?sime Dutrou-Bornier, in partnership with John Brander, businessman, and Catholic Bishop Tepano Jaussen, brought 435 head of merino sheep from Sydney, along with construction materials and armaments, in 1872, which provided the island with its only significant export, an annual wool clip. The ranch at Vaitea, in the centre of the island, features an Australian inspired architecture.
Livestock. The sheep population reached over 60,000 head, consisting mainly of corriedales and Australian merinos and the entire island, bar the small settlement of Hangaroa, was turned over to ranching for much of its colonial history. At the annual shearing, each clip was about 2.8 kg and all wool was classified on the island and sent to Chile. This operation commenced its decline in the 1950s, culminating in the end of the sheep era in November 1985, with the last slaughter.
In the 1970s, with the end of the sheep ranching in view, a herd of about 400 head of cattle was imported from Punta Arenas, Chile, to provide local meat for local consumption. Horses were introduced by the sheep ranching operation in the last century and people, especially those who cannot afford motor vehicles, use them for transportation. The local herd reach several thousand in the 1970s, was reduced when used to feed the population and now, once more, is on the rise.
Excellent tuna is caught by local fishermen for local consumption, along with the much appreciated (by outsiders) crayfish. There are other local varieties of fish worth tasting. Islanders enjoy raw sea urchins and a few other shoreline delicacies. The "nanue" is a strong smelling, fatty local fish much appreciated by Rapanui.
Export industries in the past have included horse meat, pineapples and, even, crayfish, but these are not constant, due to the high cost of air freight and its unreliability. A recent initiative is an attempt to produce small quantities of preserves, a current brand name being "Tuku Turi", after the unique kneeling moai on the slopes of Rano Raraku.
All local commerce, including hotel and tourism operations are in Rapanui hands. All local businesses require a local partner since all land either is owned by the state (SASIPA and National Park) or registered in Rapanui names. Whilst outsiders may be shop assistants, even managers, those who control the businesses are Rapanui. The definition of a "Rapanui" for the purposes of holding land title is that at least one parent was born on Rapanui or descended from someone so born. There are land "sales" between Rapanui, although these officially are registered as transfers, the settlement being a matter between the Rapanui in the deal. No non-Rapanui can purchase land and leasing is very difficult.
Some cruise ships and small yachts do anchor around Rapanui at various times of the year and there are formal port and customs clearance requirements, at Hangaroa, that must be observed. Hanga Piko is the only enclosed harbour for small boats, although there are docks and storage huts for local fishermen to use at Aka Hanga, Hanga o Hoonu ("La P?rouse") and Anakena. There is a small tie up facility for local fishermen at Hangaroa. The petrol tanker unloads its cargo into the large storage tanks located at Vaihu. Hanga Piko does have three 16m landing craft for unloading the supply ship, small cranes, warehouses and electric light.
LanChile is the Chilean national airline and is the only one permitted to land at Mataveri. Lan uses mainly DC 767, but occasionally the old 707 is called into service. The flights are between Santiago and Papeete, the most popular sector being the Rapanui-Santiago segment, which often is heavily booked. Due to traffic in South Americans now resident in Australia, the entire flight may be booked, so re-confirmation and early arrival at the airport is recommended to secure ones seat. Flying time from Santiago is about 5 hours, from Papeete only 4, although these times vary by as much as an hour depending upon prevailing winds and the direction of the flight. The standard of the landing equipment at Mataveri is amongst the best in the Pacific and Mataveri has had a good passenger terminal since 1982. The passenger terminal has a small bar, both for transit and those embarking and limited souvenir shops.
Persons who are short-term public officials may change every 2-3 years.
Governor, Telephone 223254
Jacobo Hey Paoa
Mayor, Telephone 223230
Alberto Hotu Chavez (1992 for two years)
Hangaroa Municipality Counsellors, Telephone 223230
Marcelo Pont Hill
Pedro Edmunds Paoa (to be mayor 1994 to 1996)
Pascual Pakarati Gonzalez
Felipe Nahoe Tepano
Juan Perouse Atan
Judge, Telephone 223223 (Office), 223348 (Residence)
Ricardo Soto Gonzales
Naval Comandant and Maritime Governor of Hangaroa,
Capitan de Fragata Ricardo Menzel Zanza
Port Captain, Telephone 223222
Teniente Primero Luis Gracia
Head of the Marine Infantry, Telephone 223222
Teniente Primero Infante Marina Luis Rodriguez
Conservator of the Provincial Anthropological Museum
R. P. Sebastian Englert, Telephone 223296
Claudio Cristino Ferrando
Director of CONAF, National Park properties, Telephone
Jauter Labra Vazquez
Director of the Hospital, Telephone 223217 (Office),
Dr. Claudio Meneses Alvarado
Director of the Airport, Telephone 223237
Oscar Medina Rojas
Director of the Post Office, Telephone 223332
Rosita Avaka Tuki
Director of the Civil Registry Office, Telephone
Maria Eugenia Huki Atan
Director of SERNATUR, National Tourism Office, Telephone
Virginia Haoa Cardinali (also an archaeologist)
Director of the Petrol Supply Plant "Conc?n", Telephone
223258 (Vinapu Office), 223224 (Residence)
Aurelio Morales Salinas
Director of Public Works, Telephone 223286
Luis Gonzales Puebla
Director of the Office of National Goods (Bienes
Nacionales, land register), Telephone 223241
Hilda Dolores Donoso Espinoza
Director of Emaza, National Remote Supply Store,
Agent for LanChile Airlines, Telephone 223279 (office),
Julio Maure Castro
Director of Liceo Lorenzo Baeza, Telephone 223275
Ruth Cifuentes Perez
Director of Banco del Estado, Telephone 223221 (Office),
Claudio Meza Rojas
Santa Cruz Parish Priest, Telephone 223357
Father Francisco Urbiola
Director of SASIPA, agricultural and public utilities,
Telephone 223212 (Office), 223227 (Residence)
Gerardo Velasco Garcia-Huidobro
Director of the Television Station, Telephone 223291
Juan Edmunds Paoa
Director of the National Police, Telephone 223219
(Office), 223232 (Residence)
Mayor de Carabineros Ricardo Cofre Retamales
Kio Teao Atan, singer, dancer and public performer of Rapanui folklore
Marcos Rapu Chavez, singer, dancer and public performer of Rapanui folklore -- Telephone 223344
German Hotu Chavez, Community activist and conservationist
Petero Riroroko Atan, entrepreneur and businessman -- Telephone 223269
Matias Riroroko Pakomio, entrepreneur and businessman -- Telephone 223312
Pedro Alvaro Atan Paoa, master carver & folklore expert -- Telephone 223231
Juan Edmunds Paoa, technical specialist in electronics and development -- Telephone 223239
Martin Rapu Pua, residencial and tourism operator -- Telephone 223228
Helmut Kaufmann Chivano, part-time reporter for Chilean newspapers, employed at the Liceo as a teacher
Robert Webber, Summer Institute of Linguistics researcher -- Telephone 223372
Hotel o Tai, formerly "Rosita's", owned and operated by Rosita Cardinali and Nico Haoa, Telephone 223250 (near the school and post office)
Hotel Hotu Matu'a, owned by Orlando Paoa, Telephone 223242 (inland, near the airport)
Hotel Victoria, owned by Jorge ("George") Edmunds Rapahango and Ana Paoa Rangitopa, Telephone 223272 (at the beginning of the road to Apina, from Policarpo Toro)
Hotel Orongo, owned by Juan Chavez Haoa, telephone 223294 (near the government offices and main shops)
Hotel Iorana, owned by Matias Riroroko Pakomio and Crimilda Hei Paoa Telephone 223312; Santiago number (56-2) 6332650 (by the sea, near Mataveri)
Director Enquiries 223103
To book overseas calls 223182
To book calls to other parts of Chile 223183
Telephone Business Office 223202
Direct dial FAX for anyone on Rapanui (56-2) 690-2674
One theory, put forward by archaeologist Sergio Rapu, is that the sweet potato, an important food plant of definite South American origin arrived on the island and became the fuel to drive the remarkable cultural development. This sweet potato culture, with its abundant and nutritious food, was able to produce one of the most remarkable cultures known to humans. The ahu grew in size to the gigantic one at Tongariki, being restored by University of Chile archaeologists Claudio Cristino and Patricia Vargas in 1992-3, which contained 13 moai. These commemorative figures, so heavily stylised were carved from volcanic tuft mainly at the main quarry of Rano Raraku, where one can follow easily the various stages of production. Most moai, intended to represent once known ancestors, are from 3.5m to 6m in height, but there are larger ones up to 10m. Further elaboration brought people to carve additional red scoria top knots, representing ceremonial mud dressed hair. Something around 1,000 moai, some still buried in ahu and under eroded soil, were produced, with the last ones having radio carbon dates of around 1350AD. At around that time, now corroborated by John Flenley's work on ancient pollens, the moai building ceased, ahus fell into disrepair and Islanders began destructive battles in what seems to have been a time of famine, perhaps provoked by the "Little Ice Age" whose impact on Europe at that time is well documented.
The sacred site shifted from moai building to an annual "bird man ceremony" at the ceremonial village of Orongo, high on the cliffs of Rano Kau, overlooking the sea. There at an annual end of winter gathering, brave warriors plunged into the sea to retrieve the first laid egg of the sooty tern from some offshore islets. During this time, there were other events, such as the reading of the still undeciphered rongo-rongo boards at Anakena Beach. Ever inventive, the Rapanui tried to ameliorate war through elaborate ritual. The moai building complex was a time of peace, but the Orongo period from roughly the 14th century until European contact and settlement from the 18th century onwards, was one of constant battle, with destruction and canibalism. The last sighting of a standing moai on a platform was by a French naval vessel in 1832.
One of the stories that the tourist will hear perpetually about Rapanui is that the crucial battle that ended the culture was an epic confrontation between Hanau Eepe (Long Ears) and Hanau Momoko (Short Ears). This derives from a 19th century mistranslation of the crucial terms, first explained by Father Sebastian Englert over half a century ago, but ignored by those who wish to use this sort for their own purposes. Only one of these words could be confused with "ear", which is epe in Rapanui. In reality, the terms refer to the "short, corpulent people" (Hanau Eepe) and the "tall, thin people" (Hanau momoko). Perhaps its time that the mistranslation is finally put to rest?
European arrive. Some accounts give the Spanish credit for bumping into Rapanui and there is the residue that the English Pirate, Davis, might have made a 17th century call, but the first confirmed European landing is on Easter Day in 1722 by the Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen, and his three ships, who named it accordingly. Observations were made of Rapanui who came to the ship and there was one shore party, with 125 armed marines, who became jittery at the islander excitement and opened fire, killing an unknown number of welcoming hosts. A wild account of the time there and other adventures was published by a member of the crew, Fredrich Behrens, thus commencing the tradition of strange tales that have come such a part of the literature on the island.
Spain, rather late to get to known its "Spanish Lake" sent an expedition to Rapanui in 1770 under the command of Felipe Gonzalez y Haedo who in an elaborate ceremony, complete with flags and cannon, took possession of St. Charles Island (named for his king), generally leaving a good impression with the Rapanui. The Spanish initiative failed and the question of a claim there never taken up, but excellent maps were produced.
Four years later, on his second voyage, James Cook came up from his imposed, fruitless search for the Great South Land around Antarctica and glumly pronounced Rapanui worthless, through his sickly eyes; the great explorer did some maps of his usual high standard, but did not go ashore with his landing party, which consisted of the Tahitian Mahina, who promptly disappeared with the Rapanui, with whom he probably could converse. The Cook visit provides valuable ethnological information as does the subsequent one by La P?rouse two years later. A map from the La P?rouse visit shows the layout of the Hangaroa area to be remarkably like the road system found today.
About one hundred ships called at the island between the Spanish visit and 1862, with several stops by whalers in the 1820s and 1830s. In 1806, Captain Benjamin Page took a young Rapanui with him to London, where he was baptised "Henry Easter" at Rotherhithe in 1812. Mostly relations were good, with Rapanui trading their art work and food for European products, usually nails, cloth and the like, although haircuts enjoyed a vogue for a while!
Peruvian slavers. Labour shortages in Peru and a British ban on the importation of Chinese labour conspired with an Irish "migration consultant" to produce the disastrous blackbird raids on Rapanui, and elsewhere, as told by H. E. Maude, in his book Slavers in paradise, Stanford University Press, 1981. The island's population stood at about 3,500 persons in 1862, when the raids commenced in December of that year. There were subsequent attacks and over 1,000 were carried off to work on plantations and, even, as servants in private homes. French diplomatic pressure, and Peruvian realisation of what they had permitted their citizens and others to do, put an end to the raids in early 1863, but not before damage had been done. Tuberculosis and, from April, 1863, small pox began to take its terrible toll on the Rapanui and other islanders and hundreds died. There is no evidence that there were any survivors and only about a dozen returned to their home, bringing disease with them.
Missionaries. Through these events and owing to a report from a warship that had stopped at Rapanui just before the raids, a Lay Brother, Eugene Eyraud, who, though of French birth, had been a mechanic in Bolivia, persuaded the Sacred Hearts Mission in Valparaiso to let him lead a mission to Rapanui, which he did after stopping in Papeete, to return with a couple of Rapanui who had been stranded there during the raids. Eyraud, alone, endured nine months before being rescued. He returned with three more in a team that included the easy going Father Gaspar Zumbohm (German) and the emotional Father Hypolite Roussel (French). Eyraud died in 1868, of tuberculosis, but the others, joined by another Lay Brother, Theodule Escolan, continued their work, which included the burning of idols. A Frenchman, Jean Baptiste On?sime Dutrou-Bornier, who subsequently styled himself as "King" of Rapanui, turned up in partnership with Catholic Bishop Tepano Jaussen and businessman, John Brander. There is a falling out between Bornier and Roussel, with the latter leaving in 1871, taking a contingent to Mangareva. Bornier supervises more shipments of labour to the plantations owned by the Catholic Church and Brander. Most of these emigrants died. In 1876, Bornier is murdered by the islanders, who could take no more of his brutality and when Alphonse Pinart appears over the horizon in 1877, he is told by a Chilean foreman that there are 110 persons on the island with him.
Chilean interest. Chilean ships had called at Rapanui from as early as the 1830s, but serious contacts began in 1870. Flushed with pride at winning their "War of the Pacific" with Peru and Bolivia, Chilean patriots urge the acquisition of a colonial possession to validate their claims to nationhood. On 9 September 1888, Capitan Policarpo Toro Hurtado signs a deed of Cesion and another of Annexation with the chiefs of the island. The treaty is in both Spanish and a kind of Rapanui. In the latter, Chile offers to be a "friend of the land", whilst in the former the island becomes part of the Chilean state. Brander was to be compensated for his property, but full payment never took place. Policarpo Toro's brother, Pedro Pablo, ran a sheep ranch operation until 1892, when their ship (and fortunes) sank. Eventually, the Toro brothers sold their interests to one Enrique Merlet, who took a strong lead which eventually led to the killing of the last king of the island by poison, and the murder deportation of any opposition. It was at this time that the islanders were forceably herded into Hangaroa, when they remained as prisoners on their own island until 1966.
In time, a Chilean company, called appropriately Compania Explotadora de la Isla de Pascua, took over the interests which mainly were owned by the English-Scottish company, Williamson, Balfour, who prosper still on the Chilean mainland. Discounting a charge of dynamite placed in the centre of the superb Vinapu finely fitted ahu by Paymaster William Thompson in 1886, the first archaeology was carried out by Mrs. Scoresby Routledge, who remained on the island for 18 months in 1914-1915, during which time the German Pacific Squadron turned up to take on supplies! In 1934-5, a Franco-Belgian expedition spent about half a year taking down the most complete ethnological record to date. The Belgian, Henri Lavacherry, published his studies in French, but the Frenchman Alfred M?traux, published in both English and French, both popular and scientific accounts of his research. Father Sebastian Englert, a Capuchin missionary, arrived in 1935, mission Metraux, and remained the resident researcher and priest until his death, in Florida, in 1969, on his way back to Rapanui after an exhibition of Rapanui work. In 1955-6, Thor Heyerdahl led the Norwegian Expedition to Easter Island, resulting in several publications, including his still popular novelistic account, Aku Aku, available in many editions and languages. The Canadian Medical Expedition to Easter Island in 1964-5 was the last large scale research team to descend on the place.
Recent history. After an unexpected "revolt", really a cargo cult in 1914, the Chilean government began to send regular governors to represent Chilean interests on the island, to affirm sovereignty. After the first, all were naval officers, either active or retired. Increasingly, rule became more restrictive. In 1953, the contract for Williamson, Balfour was terminated and the Chilean Navy took over the entire running of the island. Throughout this century, Chilean authorities forbade islanders to leave the Hangaroa area, a fence being put around the settlement and written permission required to visit the rest of the island. After the escape of some Chilean political prisoners in the 1930s, Islanders movement off the island was severely controlled. This sparked about fifty islanders over the years to take to sea in small fishing boats, Boston whalers, about half of them dying in the attempt. After the Heyerdahl, there was some relaxation and in 1956 the first continent of school children was allowed to go to Chile to study, along with some guardians. Amongst this first group was Alfonso Rapu Haoa, who returned to his home in 1964 as a school teacher. As one of the first educated Rapanui, he resented the autocratic Naval rule and, due to his election as Mayor, the authorities called troops to the island. Eventually, the troops withdrew and the island became a fully incorporated part of Chile, the restrictions were removed and free elections held from 1966, even a special "Easter Island Law (16442)" was enacted, giving a series of benefits to spur development. This coincided with the coming of a US Air Force base to the island which caused considerable social change in a very few years, including birth of a few dozen half-American children, none of whom have been acknowledged either by their fathers or the American authorities. The election of Salvador Allende Gossens in 1970 prompted the Americans to depart hastily; the bloody Chilean coup of 1973 ended freedom on Rapanui and elsewhere in that unhappy country.
Rapanui under the military dictatorship flourished and Army strongman, Augusto Pinochet Ugarte visited the place three times, along with several of his ministers. Extensive public works were carried out, subsidised government housing and public buildings erected. The first Rapanui to be governor was appointed in 1984. The year before, an Elders Committee had been formed around Alberto Hotu Chavez who organised a letter, with the consent of virtually all the Islanders, to petition the United Nations Committee on Decolonisation for assistance in securing a referendum on independence on Easter Island. Mr. Hotu continued his agitation and community action throughout the 1980s as one of the few voices of protest during the long period of military rule in Chile. In 1992, Mr. Hotu was elected Mayor of the Municipality.
The most recent event on the island is the filming of a Hollywood style production using Rapanui themes, organised by actor Kevin Costner, with some local actors and an Australian technical crew. The making of the film is expected to occupy the first half of 1993, with a release date yet to be determined.
Air Links. In 1950, the idea of a trans-Pacific link, using Rapanui as a stopping off place, began to be floated and a rough 600m airstrip was built at Mataveri, in the SW of the island. Chilean Air Force pilot Roberto Parrague Singer took the first Catalina amphibian aircraft to Rapanui in 1951, but encountered difficulties in taking off with the necessary fuel for the return journey. Shortly afterwards, an Australian airman, (now Sir) Gordon Taylor called at Rapanui on a west-to-east survey flight. It was a decade before further significant developments took place, with the Tahiti-Rapanui-Santiago link established, mainly by Parrague, in the 1960s. People on the island know that "Manutara", as some call Parrague, occasionally pilots the LanChile aircraft that come to the island.
Prospective visitors should take a jumper and rain gear at almost any time of the year and strong shoes to cope with the sharp volcanic debris.
Collecting genuine artefacts is frowned upon and such exports will be confiscated. Luggage is inspected upon departure to enforce this ruling.
Entry formalities. For most visitors wishing to stay no more than three months, all that is required is a valid passport and a visa is granted on arrival. Entry requirements are the same for Easter Island as for Chile and local consular posts should be consulted for details.
Airport tax. There is an airport tax, payable in either Chilean or USA currency which is subject to variation. Visitors should check on arrival.
Sightseeing. The restored Tahai complex near Hangaroa is a common place to visit, including Ko te Riku, which is the moai in the centre of the complex with a red top knot. The ashes of Dr. William Mulloy, who carried out many of the archaeological restorations on the island, and died in 1978, are in a small monument to the south of the complex, and overlooking it. Anakena beach has the fully restored Ahu Nau-nau, with its row of figures. During the restoration of these figures in 1978, archaeologist Sergio Rapu Haoa discovered that the figures there and elsewhere actually had inlaid eyes, thus changing the look of Rapanui moai forever. Closer to the coast at Anakena is the roughly restored ahu done by Thor Heyerdahl, during his visit.
Further out from Hangaroa is the first restored ahu, Ahu Akivi, the only complex substantially inland, the rest being on the coast. Nearby Puna Pau is the quarry for the red scoria top knots. Taking the road along the south coast, one goes by a number of toppled monuments, some of which are identified. If one turns off the road to the fishermen's landing at Vaihu, there are a couple of large round stones just on the left. These are all that remains of the second mission station. Moving further along the coastal road, on the right hand side, is an erect moai, which remained there after it had been shipped to Japan and back in the early 1980s. Rano Raraku is the quarry for most of the moai and is worth several hours of patient exploration, both inside and out. Climbing to the top, one can appreciate how the moai, once finished, could be lowered. Also visible is the ancient road along which the moai were transport, some of them still there, where they fell. In back of the village, on the seaward edge of Rano Kau, is the restored ceremonial village of Orongo, with its tiny houses and elaborate rock carvings. At the end of the runway, near the huge fuel tanks at Vinapu, is one of the most perfectly fitted ahu walls and a peculiar pillar moai, now almost worn away.
Visitors should try also to attend a cultural performance which typically involves the singing of both traditional and modern music. Some of the "dances" are small plays about cultural events and these prove very popular with Rapanui as well as other Islanders where they have been seen at Pacific Arts Festivals since they first participated in 1972. There are cassettes available of traditional and modern Rapanui music and some Compact Disks are beginning to be produced.
******************************************************************* Grant McCall | Telephone: (61-2) 385-2408 Centre for South Pacific Studies | FAX: (61-2) 313-7859 The University of New South Wales | e-mail: [email protected] Sydney NSW 2052 ** Australia | *******************************************************************