A Rapa Nui elder says if reserves are established around her island her people must own them.
Pew Environment Group’s Kermadec Initiative hosted a group from Rapa Nui or Easter Island, French Polynesia and Chile looking to New Zealand for expertise on how to protect their ocean resources.
But Jacqueline Rapu Tuki says indigenous people should get the benefit of marine reserves.
“Here in New Zealand the government owns the reserve. What we’d like to see on Rapa Nui is that the Rapa Nui own the reserve.”
Jacqueline Rapu Tuki says a marine reserve would be very important for Rapa Nui’s identity but also for the rest of the world.
The Federation of Maori Authorities says the recent waka tapu voyage to Rapanui or Easter Island late last year gave tangata whenua there hope and inspiration about trade and exchange with their Maori cousins.
Te Aurere and Ngahiraka Mai Tawhiti left Auckland in September last year for a return journey to the island to complete the last leg of the Polynesian triangle.
Traci Houpapa, who was in Rapanui in March says the waka expedition also reminded the Easter Islanders of their early relationship with Maori, and started conversations about on-going cultural exchanges, and confirmed an ancient prophesy.
She says the Rapanui people were overwhelmed to host their Maori cousins because their historical stories told them that when the Maori of Aotearoa come to Easter Island it's time for them to stand up.
Ms Houpapa says this isn't the first time Polynesian canoes have made it to the shores of Rapanui or other parts of the Pacific, but indeed confirmation that the ancestors of the Maori travelled , traded and returned, and navigated the seas - not by chance, but by strategy and a deliberate decision to trade, export and exchange.