When we thought it was going to be a normal school day at Holy Name Convent, we received an exciting visit from the natives of the small island of Rapa Nui! On 26th October, one of our teachers, Mr. Dookie, arrange this special surprise for the Holy Name body to experience the cultural performances of their island with the aid of his uncle, who put together the trip.
Rapa Nui is one of the most isolated islands on the planet! Actually, you may remember them as Easter Island or know of their iconic and gigantic, stone monuments, called The Moai, that are spread throughout the island. Fun fact: There are about 900 Moai in different parts of their island. According to tradition, the Moai were able to walk. These stylized figures are the incarnation of the spirit of the ancestors.
Historical Legend of their Island
“From the dream of Haumaka, Ariki’s counselor, sprung the history of the most isolated land in the planet. The immigration of the first “Ariki henua”, or king. Hotu Matu’a, took place over a thousand years ago, after a catastrophe in the Pacific Ocean, where the legendary Hiva stood, caused the lands to sink. One thousand years later, toward 1610, the descendants of Hotu Matu’a were surprised by the arrival of a second immigration. The name given to the new comers, which had strange and very long ear lobes was “tangata hanau e’epe” men of a wide race; e’epe = wide, sturdy, solid) and the natives called themselves “tangata hanau momoko” (men of race). Since they boosted the construction of megalithic monuments: The Ahu, and the Moai. However, stone sculptures are already existed. In addition, they developed the Rongo Rongo writing, the only written language in Oceania. The island reached a population of 10,000 inhabitants, exceeding the capacity of the small ecosystem, triggering a disaster….”- excerpt from their book ‘tapati o te Rapa Nui’
The dancers performed their traditional dances for the students and teachers exposing them to their cultural diversities. The performers, in their traditional clothing, represented their island stories in the form of elegant dances accompanied by lively and buoyant rhythms. Each dance told different stories depending on the beat and the movements. The students and teachers were in complete awe and were fascinated by these talented dancers. They decided to join in on the fun and got on stage for some cultural dance lessons from the natives, themselves!
Holy Name enjoyed the enlightening experience they received and we hope that they may visit us again in the near future.
“Ko Rapa Nui te here mau o te mahingo”
“The true love for Rapa Nui!”
Here are some pictures and videos taken by Alexa Reyes: