20 Feb 2012

Spokesperson for Rapa Nui family upset that hotel has opened on dispute site

8:23 pm on 20 February 2012

A New York-based Rapa Nui man says he is saddened and disappointed by the opening of a luxury hotel on his ancestral land in Easter Island.

The Hangaroa Eco Village opened this month, a year after Chile sent police units from the mainland to end protests by Rapa Nui on several sites including the former Hangaroa Hotel.

Santi Hitorangi's family staged a protest at the hotel over several months until being forcibly dispersed.

Their legal challenge against the use of their land by the Chilean/German consortium which owns the hotel is still in the courts.

However Mr Hitorangi says the government has done little to help resolve the issue:

"The government has been in bed with the owners of the Hangaroa Hotel and they're in fact using their police, their local justice system, to criminalise my people, my family, and use the local police as the private guards to keep out any protest and any attempt to re-take the Hangaroa Hotel."

Santi Hitorangi