Te tātou ‘ōro’a he

Tāpati Rapa Nui 2023

Mai te toru ki te ho’e ‘ahuru mā ho’e

mahana o Hetu’u Pū

The details of 
the next
Tāpati 2023
after the
Covid 19

By Camila Sandoval

Photos by I. Municipalidad de Isla de Pascua

This celebration, which values the cultural heritage of the Rapa Nui people, will take place between February 3rd and 11th. After two years isolated, this event is open to visitors, which is a great challenge for its new coordinator Veri Teave Tuki and for the candidate Vai Tiare Flores Riroroco, who will represent her family and who has a powerful message for women..

The Tāpati Rapa Nui represents a milestone in the modern history of the Rapa Nui people and turns the island into a scene of a living culture and tradition in which ‘Ono Tupuna (legacy of the ancestors) is celebrated. It began in 1968 and is currently the largest annual festivity on the island. 

This 2023 comes with new airs for the Tāpati. Veri Teave Tuki will direct the unit in charge, dependent on the Municipal Administration Directorate, a role she assumed a few months ago. Before, Veri worked in the Directorate of the Community Planning Secretariat, in charge of the Citizen Participation Unit. 

Her parents are members of the indigenous cultural protection organization “Kahu-kahu ‘o Hera”, which in the 1980s adapted the responsibilities of this festival to ancient traditions. From there, as a graphic designer by profession and together with her work team, the idea of integrating in the 2023 edition all the iconography of the 80s was born, whose most outstanding work was carried out by the illustrator César Aguilera, embodied in a dozen posters whose main concept was “Rapa Nui”. This year, the aim is to commemorate this work so that the community can also remember it.

For some time now, the graphic designer and illustrator Tania Olivera Álvarez, from the design team, had been studying this, as well as the iconography of Rapa Nui (petroglyphs and place names, among others), which give life to this new identity of the Tāpati 2023, incorporating them into various graphic dissemination pieces in which the team works. Likewise, the illustrators Gustavo Bórquez Paoa and Cristián Silva Araki will incorporate some of these concepts for the poster and the stage.

Vai Riroroco

Transition to deeper modernization

After two years of confinement in times of pandemic, it became more than necessary to rethink a celebration like this. That is why in March 2022 the citizen participation meeting “Koro Nui o te Tāpati Rapa Nui” was held, which had the objective of collecting the thoughts and feelings of the Rapa Nui community about their festival and promoting improvements through a participatory and methodological process.

Mainly, the needs and proposals of the community pointed to the need to have a Tāpati Rapa Nui Unit operational throughout the year, with more resources and advice from local experts. “We are working on making a reality many of these improvements that were summarized in 14 relevant points. But, for this 2023, we define that it will be a transition period, since we have the same funds as in previous years. However, thanks to the role of Mayor Pedro Edmunds, we have achieved the commitment of the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage to increase these resources for the next editions where the improvements requested by the community would be included even more”, adds Veri. 

One of the requests was the rethinking of the competitions and their bases to include more categories of children and young people in the different competitions. During this year›s Tāpati there will be a group of people who will collect information and surveys to start the work on the first and, about the second, the activities on February 3rd will begin with the afternoon competitions for girls and boys, in order to Enhance their participation.

The challenge is double for Veri and her team: not only must they meet the expectations of the community that has already requested a modernization of this festival, but they must also receive the visitors who waited two years to witness the manifestations of a living culture that refuses to disappear, even with a pandemic.



They know her as Vai Riroroco, she is 21 years old and is the candidate for this edition. She is the daughter of Mariana Riroroco Teao and Patricio Flores Contreras. She works in the Human Resources area of the Municipality of Rapa Nui and studies Engineering in Business Administration at IACC.

Her candidacy began when a co-worker convinced her to apply. Vai first sought confirmation from his grandfather Simón Teao Terongo. With that big “Yes” he made sure it was the right thing to do. “There are many women who have different bodies who don’t dare to be a candidate because they judge their appearance.Loving my culture is enough to be worthy of representing it,” she says, remembering that as a child she dreamed of going on stage at Haŋa Vare-vare. “I admired the queens of the Tāpati with their crowns, their costumes and their dances. It was my childhood dream. I want to tell the girls that dreams do come true, that we are worth equally regardless of how our bodies are and that we can do everything we set our minds to because we were born perfect, and we are beautiful and brave,” adds this young woman, who has an extraordinary voice, and although she loves to dance, when asked which one she decides on, she finally turns to singing, a talent that we will see on stage in February.

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