“I was with my mother, Micaela Tuki-Kaituoe, until I was 7. We lived at the Vaitea ranch where she cooked for the workers of Williamson & Balfour, the sheep ranch which leased the Island between 1905 and 1952. One day the administrator came and told my mother that children couldn’t be around the sheep because we chased them and would make them run away. So she took me to live with the family of Petero Riroroko. I also spent some time with my grandmother, Emilia Kaituoe, and my aunt “Rosevia” (Rosalia). My grandmother said that leprosy had come to the Island from Tahiti, brought by a relative of ours, Taverio Tuki, who had worked for the Bishop of Tahiti making furniture. One day, he told the Bishop that he wanted to return to the Island, but the Bishop told him that he could go only once he finished the Bishop’s coffin and buried him. Since our relative didn’t accept those terms and left on his own, the Bishop set a curse on him where he got sick with leprosy.
“Alongside the Riroroko family, on Westermeyer’s farm, lived old Renga Maengo with his white skin and freckles on his face. He planted sweet potato, taro and sugar cane. I think that some of our ancestors were white like old Renga Moango and that the roots of the Rapanui are the ancient New Zealanders and not the Maori who came later. According to folklore from New Zealand, the oldest inhabitants there were of the white race and with straight hair. That was backed up by Dr. Stephen Chauvet, who studied the hair of the Easter Islanders as well as those of the principal islands of Oceania. His work confirmed that the Easter Islanders’ hair is most closely related to that of the New Zealanders and not to other islanders of Polynesia.
“Major Carlos Millán-Iriarte was one of the first group of political exiles from the government of Carlos Ibañez del Campo, accused of conspiracy. He arrived with the naval Captain Cumplido, in a group that included Marmaduque Grove, Enrique Bravo, Carlos Charlín-Ojeda (the grandfather of our mayor), Eugenio and Arturo Matte, Eduardo Alessandri and Carlos Vicuña-Fuentes. Carlos Millán helped with building the road to Pia Taro and the pier at Hanga Roa. He also taught reading and writing in the little school that they built, which they called Hare Mekerá and was located where the Hotel Otai is today. The first exiles took off in the sloop “Valencia” to Tahiti. Two years later, they were exiled again and, this time, they arrived with the first policemen who set up on the site where Sergio Rapu now has his business in front of the local market. They also brought some carpenters who began to build in the plots which are in front of the present-day Provincial Government. And if we are talking about those properties which were taken over a few years ago, that land never belonged to Tuco Tuki nor to Margarita Pakarati either, as they say. It’s pure greed on their parts.
“I’m happy with Chile. All the aid and development that Chile has given to the Island since that time should make us overlook the difficulties of the past. Unfortunately, there are people who, although they never lived through the difficult times, try to rile up the others and don’t do a day’s work for anybody. A few of the young people have taken to studying and return as professionals, but others are accustomed to being given everything and aren’t willing to work as we did in the past. The land is abandoned and the Island is no longer able to feed itself with its agriculture. We can produce coffee and many other things, but – no – it’s easier to bring everything from the continent. What would happen if, for some reason, the ships and airplanes don’t arrive any more? The local authorities don’t know how to manage the Island; they don’t know how to make decisions. Politics don’t serve the Island well. Our goal should be the development of Rapa Nui. I’m a hard-working man and, if I was only 50 years old, I’d pull up my pants and get to work and make real changes on the Island.”
In the sand of Rapa Nui there are animals so small that they can hardly be seen with the bare eye. You need a microscope to see them. These animals live in the small spaces between sand grains.
PUREThe Endangered Sea Snailby Ernesto Díaz CabreraEstudiante Doctorado en Ciencias, mención Ecología y Biología Evolutiva de la Universidad de ChileDoctoral candidate in Science of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of ChilePure is a sea snail which has...
Bees Rapa NuiFree of Pathogens, a Source of Life and LoveBees were introduced to Easter Island by the Catholic missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the decade of the 1860s, and since then have been pollinating guavas, mangoes, bananas and pasture flowers. In...