December 17, 2012
Institute supporting Rapanui people in cultural revival
The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute is looking at what it can do to build bonds with the people of Rapanui-Easter Island, the easternmost limit of Polynesia.
The institute provided funding and support for the Waka Tapu voyage which realised the dream of waka builder Hekenukumai Busby of spanning the Polynesian Triangle in replicas of ancient double-hulled ocean-going canoes.
Director Karl Johnstone says the landing at Anakena, the spot where the ancestor Hotu Matu’a first landed, was extraordinary.
To mark the event, eyes were placed in the moai or ancient stone statues.
“You know in Anakena there is a group of moai there. The eyes which were made from coral were found around about 120years ago and treated as an artefact then put within museums. The Rapanui people managed to access those for this event and those eyes were placed, in which really, at wairua level, metaphoric level, figurative level was just an amazing moment in time and gave sight back to their ancestors”.
Karl Johnstone says the people of Rapanui have had centuries of colonisation and changes in their belief systems, and they are now seeking connections with their past, and the institute will look for ways to help.
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