In 1991, members voted to work together with supporters in California and Hawaìi to acquire a matched pair of
excellent -condition Hawaìian Classic outrigger canoes with all associated equipment. These canoes are recommended by
experts, and will enable Mata Hoe Vaka Kahu Kahu O Hera Rapa Nui to enter the exciting world of competitive outrigger canoe
The educational, social and cultural goals of the Rapa Nui Outrigger Club are to:
Three ships under the command of Jacob Roggeveen sighted Rapa Nui on the afternoon watch of Easter Sunday, April 5, 1722. They were about 8 or 9 miles off, and as they waited for the thunder, sheet lightning and showers of the following day to abate, the first Rapa Nui paddler known to European history appeared. He was alone in a small outrigger (vaka), and boarded one of the vessels. He carefully noted the spars, the rigging, the running gear, the sails and guns. He sang, danced and laughed with the crew. Finally, his curiosity satisfied, he departed with trinkets and friendly farewells.
The next day, a party of 134 armed men landed on the island. They marched into a crowd of excited and confused Rapa Nui people, and one man lay hands on a musket. In fear, the Dutchman struck him. Immediately, shots rang out from all sides and 10 or 12 Rapa Nui people were struck. When it was over, the Rapa Nui paddler who had braved the choppy seas alone the day before lay dead on the beach.
Mata Hoe Vaka Kahu Kahu O Hera Rapa Nui was founded to honor the memory of that long- ago paddler.Though his name is unknown, he is the ancestor of all who come together today as members of the Rapa Nui Outrigger Club.
The Outrigger Canoe on Rapa Nui
The astonishing settlement of Rapa Nui, the most isolated island in the East Pacific, was accomplished by courageous Polynesian seafarers in double-hulled voyaging canoes, but the outrigger was a vital part of everyday life. The widespread use, speed, agility, and seaworthiness of the outrigger canoe makes it most representative of the common origin and water mastery of the Polynesian civilization.
Today, an estimated 2,000 six-person outrigger racing canoes are in competitive club use throughout the Pacific, with 50 to 100 added to the fleet each year. The sport includes paddlers of both sexes and all ages. Outrigger racing is well-established as an exciting sport and a deeply-treasured link with Polynesia's past....except on Rapa Nui. Unhappily, the outrigger canoe, and the history it represents ,was lost on Rapa Nui in the mid-1800's.
Until the birth of Mata Hoe Vaka Kahu Kahu O Hera Rapa Nui, an important part of Rapa Nui's Polynesian heritage was unavailable, but not forgotten. Today, the Rapa Nui Outrigger Club is reintroducing this wonderful sport to a new generation of Rapa Nui young people! At the same time, traditional skills and cultural practices will be revived and reinforced; thereby incorporating Rapa Nui into the larger Pacific island community.
The first goal of the Rapa Nui Outrigger Club, was to raise the funds required to purchase a Hawaiian Classic outrigger canoe suitable for Rapa Nui's rough waters. This was done with contributions from around the world. The canoe was named Tahatai and blessed in a solemn and sacred ceremony in Valparaiso Park, Long Beach, California conducted by honored men and women of the Hawaiian community. Inside the canoe, the community placed ti leaves, leis and other symbols of sacred mana. It was then sealed and crated. When it arrived on Rapa Nui, it was consecrated in a ceremony designed to have value and meaning to the entire community. Polynesians believe that a canoe is akin to a person, and, as such, she must be treated with proper respect for her mana. It is her job to hold the lives of those who are aboard her in safe and loving arms. Tahatai was given good luck which was carried to Rapa Nui. Through the continuing efforts of RNOC there are now two outrigger canoes on Rapa Nui, with more on the way!
Mata Hoe Vaka Kahu Kahu O Hera Rapa Nui
|President||Rodrigo Paoa Atamu|
|Director||Nikko Haoa Cardinali|
|Assistant||Cristián Arévalo Pakarati|
Jo Anne Van Tilburg
|Treasurer||Curtiss H. Johnson|