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Easter Island, Rapa Nui, Isla de Pascua, Te Pito Ote Henua (the Navel of the World), El Ombligo del Mundo: the names evoke a magical mysterious place. This book aims to show you the archeological masterpieces and the living traditions carried on in a continuum from ancient to modern in the form of the Tapati Festival. The festival is meant to celebrate and carry on the history, customs, lore, dance, song and heritage of Rapa Nui.

Pictures were taken at three festivals, 2006, 2012, and 2020. The differences show the changing times and new protections put in place to preserve their heritage. The festival has been traditionally a competition between two candidates for Queen for the year. They are supported by their extended family, who make all costumes, cook for the whole island, make up all the dance and singing groups, and participate in all the competitions. The competitions display cultural and athletic traditions: a triathlon, tapa making, dancing, singing, carving, sliding down a mountain on banana trees, ocean canoeing, horse racing, fishing, and surfing. Tapati Rapa Nui is a celebration of the community of the island. The tradition binds all the people together.

This is a photographic essay on Rapa Nui and the Tapati Festival.