16 Oct 2012

Rapanui expedition reveals similarities to Te Reo Maori

6:57 am on 16 October 2012

A Maori and Pacific arts curator says the cultural connection between Maori and their Rapanui cousins on Easter Island is very close.

Reuben Friend from Wellington's City Gallery, who is of Tainui descent, took the Kermadec exhibition to Easter Island earlier this year.

He says his visit to Rapanui made him aware that although Aotearoa and Easter Island are separated by the vastness of the South Pacific Ocean, the language similarities reminds him of how close they really are.

Mr Friend says their reo does resemble Maori and it took only a few days to pick up the different nuances including certain vocabulary that wasn't familiar to either of them.

He says after understanding the slight differences he found it easy to communicate with them.

He says although Spanish is one of the main languages spoken on the island - which is a territory of Chile, nearly all the population speak Rapanui.

Mr Friend says the main difference was in their cultural ceremonies and customs, which are very much Polynesian in nature.