18 Oct 2012

Waka journey to Rapanui 'will cement bonds' with Maori

11:10 am on 18 October 2012

The Chilean ambassador to New Zealand is confident the waka tapu expedition sailing towards Easter Island will cement stronger bonds between the Rapanui people and Maori.

In September, double hulled canoes Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti set off from Auckland on an epic return journey to retrace the ancient voyages of their Polynesian ancestors.

The waka have already made their first stop, at Tubuai in the Austral Islands, with Mangareva in their sights, before they reach Easter Island.

Isauro Torres says he knows the younger generation on the island will be very receptive to learn from their Maori cousins.

He says he meet some young park rangers on Rapanui who told him they are willing to engage with Maori and even travel to New Zealand and glean what they can from a Maori experience.

Mr Torres says he hopes the wakas' arrival at Easter Island will open up more opportunities for a comprehensive relationship between the two Pacific cultures.

A Rapanui delegation is travelling to Aotearoa late in November and will be hosted by the Te Puia Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua.