Monday, January 10, 2011
Rapanui Moai in Aotearoa
The damnedest things happen when you go off the beaten path, or off the published schedule. I'd finished my scheduled run yesterday and should have been heading home, but I saw the sun burst through the clouds and pushed on a little further, despite aching legs, to find a better shot - and I ran smack dab into an Easter Island statue.
It's not what you expect just around the next corner. But that's the wonder of being in a new land on a new continent. There are so many unexpected discoveries. Curiosity maketh serendipity. It's my new travel mantra.
Anyway, I love this picture. The little plaque with the statue (a plaque, a plaque, finally a plaque) told a nice little story. The Moai, it says, were sculpted by the first-nation people of Rapanui (Easter Island). These were people of Polynesian descent, whose language and customs very closely resemble those of the Maori of Aotearoa.
The plaque said the gift by the President of Chile in 2004 - Rapanui is a special territory of Chile - was to acknowledge the connection between "the tengata whenua of Aotearoa and Rapanui."
It felt odd, just me and the statue - two creatures from strange lands - staring at the Kiwi sunrise. But odd in a good way, and I was able to write a headline that, just a few months ago, would have been gibberish to me.