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'*Easter Island legend*'

ISTER ISLAND LEGEND

According to oral tradition, Hotu Matua who was Ariki Henua (king) of the territory of Maori in the land of Hiva, decided to migrate with his people becouse a natural disaster affected their country. So Hotu Matua sent a canoe with seven young warriors to explore an island in the middle of the ocean. The island has been seen in a dream by a man called Hau Maka.

Once in the island, the explorers were not happy with what they found; so just one of them wanted to remain there while the others wanted to go back to Hiva. But before they could make a decision, Hotu Matva arrived with his people in two large canoes. He landed on what is now Anakena beach and called the island Te Pito O Henua (Navel of the earth). Having explored the islan, Hotu Matua divided the land for his people, organizing them in twelve clans. Each clan had its own chief of Ariki Honui and all clans were under the rule of the lord of the land or Ariki Henua.

It is important to say that it seems that apart from Hotu Matua, Arikis did not rule over people. They were more like keepers of the sacred traditions of the clans than kings in the traditional sence of the title.

Each clan was orginized in a similiar way, so they had people dedicated exclusively to specific tasks that were of main importance in the daily life.

Matatoa was sort of military chief

Tumi ivi atua and Timo raraika were in charge of religius rites

Paua were guardians under the orders of the Matatoa

Maori rongorongo were school teachers that taught to read and write the language of the tablets Kohau rongorongo

Maori anga were builders of houses

Maori anga moai an Maori anga ahu were those that directed the work of carviny Moais and the building of burial places know as Ahus

Tangata keukeu henua were farmers

Tangate tere vaka were fishermen

Oral tradition called Hotu Matua's people Hanau momuko or thin people.

It is said that a second group of people arrived to the island later, the Hanau Eepe or big people. They had no Ariki and no women. The Hanau Eepe introduced the carving of the big stone statues called Moais, representing ancestors, whic were put standing on large stone platforms called Ahus. So Hanau Eepe obliged Hanau Momoko to work for them in these megalithic projects. This forced situation ended in a war among the two groups.

A long defensive ditch plenty of burning material is build across the Poike Point, one of the extremes of the island, by Hanau Eepe to protect themselves from an attack from the more numerous Hanau Momoko. Anyway, the Hanau Eepe were attacked, and most of them were killed in their own burning ditch. After the victory over their hated enemy, the Hanau Momoko began to bring down many of the big Moai statues from their ceremonial places. This time is known as the falling of the Moais period or Huri Moai it started around mid XVII century.

A long period of anarchy affected Easter island after the war among Hanau Momukn and Hanau Eepe. Clans were permanently at war destroying the sacred sites of their enemies as well as their crops. People didn't work any more, they just made war to kill enemies and to eat them becouse, as in many other Polynesian societies, cannibalism was an accepted practise. Most part of the large Moai statues were pulled down from their ahus during this time.

Roggeveen and Cook seemed to have seen many of these stone figures standing on the ahus platforms but visitors that arrived after them descriced the statues lying on the ground.


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