María Ignacia Paoa Rangitopa

María Ignacia is the daughter of María Carmela Languitopa and Alberto Paoa-Bornier, a grandson of the French settler Dutroux-Bornier, who took over the lands of the Easter Islanders and proclaimed himself “King of Easter Island”, prior to the Chilean annexation.  Everyone knows her by her nickname Macaoa , because when she was young, she was very skinny.  The older people remember her as a special person – pretty, blonde, clean and neat.  She was one of the few who used high-heeled shoes on the Island.  María Ignacia had a daughter with Carlos Charlín-Ojeda, a Chilean who had been exiled to the Island under the government of Carlos Ibañez del Campo in the 1930s.  Her daughter, called Diana Paoa, became the mother of the previous mayor, Petero Edmunds-Paoa. Today, at 97 years of age, María Ignacia continues to be a lovely, sweet woman, but she gets very energetic when it comes to defending her opinions

Anuncio Destacado

for a problem that I had with my hair, it began to fall out in large chunks.  The Taote (doctor) shaved me and made me stay in bed.  Some thought that he was punishing me and shutting me up in the house.  He was a good doctor, but as governor he used to punish very severely.”

“My mother was born in the countryside and the people used to live in caves.  My father went to work as a foreman for the Williamson & Balfour Company and then could build a little stone house with a thatched roof, although it was very small and was only used for sleeping.  When the ships started to come once a year, we began to get the first construction materials.  I saw a lot of poverty, but when I went later to the “conti”, I also saw poverty there.”

“I was raised by my aunt, Merina Lataro Neru Tu´u Matahi, whom we called “Merico”.   She is my father’s first cousin and she loved me very much.  She planted taro, sweet potato and manioc in the countryside and that was what we ate every day.  She would boil them up and the meal was ready.  It was only after the Williamson & Balfour Company came that we had beef, pork and other foods.  When I was 16, I went to work at Mataveri in the house of the Company administrator, Mr. Colin Morrison, and when it was shearing time I would go to Vaitea to sew bales of wool.  He was my boyfriend and was a real gentleman.  When he had to return to the “conti”, he wanted to take me but I wasn’t allowed to leave because we had leprosy on the Island.  Once, when a friend of Morrison’s came on a ship and asked him if I was an islander and had leprosy, he took off my dress and said to him: “Look, she doesn’t have leprosy”.  Then I asked the friend if he was a “gringo” (foreigner, European), because I was half “gringa”.  My father is the son of a Frenchwoman (Marta Bornier) and my mother is the daughter of a Scotsman (Carlos Mack).

Anuncio Destacado

My mother, Carmela Langitopa, my Aunt Inés and my Grandmother all worked in the house of Exequiel Acuña, the first Naval Sub-delegate on the Island.  He was very good; he treated the Rapanui well, especially the children whom he taught to read.  He was like a teacher for the whole Island; he taught the women to knit and sew.  My mother sewed shirts, pants and jackets for the whole town without ever charging because in the past people helped each other when they needed something – not like now.  Acuña also served as a minister.  He would punish those who ran round with married women or the women who left their husbands.  Some hated him because he was very demanding in his work and harsh with the punishment”.

Touching her lovely white hair, María Ignacia recalls the Naval doctor, Alvaro Tejeda, with whom her mother, Carmela, had a daughter named Regina.  She tells that : “for a problem that I had with my hair, it began to fall out in large chunks.  The Taote (doctor) shaved me and made me stay in bed.  Some thought that he was punishing me and shutting me up in the house.  He was a good doctor, but as governor he used to punish very severely.”  In 1938 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the annexation to Chile, Alvaro Tejeda prepared a big party in which all who participated had to make a presentation of something with an Easter Island motif.  That’s how we began to rediscover the Kai Kai string games and the Pata´uta´u poetry.  When the subject of Island dancing comes up, María Ignacia gets out of her chair and shows a dance with soft, harmonious movements and the traditional hip swaying.  “I learned this in Tahiti.  Before, the people didn’t dance like this.  They danced the Taritarita accompanied with music from the accordion and the harmonica.  It was a more jumpy dance.  The dancing of today is Tahitian.”

 

Her younger sister, Inés, related that : “Her husband, Ramón Hey, was first married to Cecilia Tuki, who got sick with the leprosy and was taken to the sanatorium.  When she died, Ramón married Maria Ignacia.  He beat her a lot and she would run away, back to her mother’s house.  Then he would come and take her back with all of her things.  They didn’t have any children.”   Today María Ignacia claims that she lives alone without any problems and is happy because her niece, Ana María Edmunds, takes her and her sisters , Marta, Rufina and Inés, out to the countryside on the weekends.

Anuncios Destacados

Featured Reports:

Manuel Tuki

Manuel Tuki

Manuel TukiAt almost one hundred years of age, the sculptor Manuel A. Tuki is a shining example for the young people of today. He lives on his farm and, since he retired, he hasn’t stopped carving in stone and wood. Major works with his signature are to be found in...

María Angata

María Angata

María Angata......... y la Rebelión de & the Rebellion of 1914Maria Angata Veri Tahi, daughter of Hare Kohou (of the Miru tribe) and Veri Tahi a Kau (of the Haumoana tribe) was born in 1854. During her childhood, when she was barely 8 years old, she witnessed the...

Niso Tuki Tepano

Niso Tuki Tepano

Niso Tuki TepanoIn the past, it was a custom to raise children from another family, for various reasons: not being able to have one's own children, not being able to raise one's own child or simply because a family wanted to have more children, as was the case for...