25 Oct 2012

Chilean envoy keen for Maori to link up with Mapuche people

9:48 am on 25 October 2012

The Chilean envoy to New Zealand says a waka expedition to Easter Island will also open the way for Maori to foster links with indigenous communities in South America.

Te Aurereand Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti left Auckland in September bound for a long return journey to Easter Island to sail the last leg of the Polynesian triangle.

Chilean envoy Isauro Torres says there is evidence to show that early Polynesian ancestors reached the shores of Chile 1000 years ago, leaving behind remnants and returning to the Pacific with the kumara originally grown in the Andes.

He hopes the Waka Tapu expedition will generate better relationships with the Mapuche indigenous community.

Mr Torres says he hopes this project will go beyond the Pacific and encompass other native peoples who share similar experiences.