Rapa Nui director seeks to preserve legends

By Te Kāea

Rapa Nui's first filmmaker is in New Zealand aiming to learn more about Māori language strategies through technology. Waitiare Kaltenegger Icka has begun documenting stories of the local elders in the hope of rejuvenating Rapa Nui traditions, legends, and language.

Rapa Nui is rich in culture, but when it comes to their language, it's a different story.

“We have a lot of different languages come into the island for tourist most and people speak mostly Spanish but we are trying to keep learning to ask our grandfathers to tell us the stories in Rapa Nui.”

So Waitiare is recording those stories and sharing them with her people through movies.

“I feel my mission in the island is to make movies about our history so we can give it to our new generation and we can have it forever. So this is the most important for us to keep alive our culture and language and traditions and people.”

Rapa Nui has a population of 6000 and 30% speak their native language. The first-time filmmaker Waitiare is making it her mission to turn these stats around.

“Now we working in the very nice and beautiful movie with rescuing the legends and our history from Easter Island. This is the first one in the history of cinema in Rapa Nui. It’s about warriors, they are bewitched by spirits, women, and it’s a lot of mystical in this movie so we already film it and we will make now the possible direction in the animation in this movie.”

The 25-year-old speaks five languages but wishes she was fluent in her native tongue. She's here in New Zealand to learn how Māori reintegrate their language into their everyday lives.

“I came here with the hope to find people who are doing the same like me rescuing the legends motivated by the culture, I came here to learn about all of you and all the spirituality, what you have is beautiful.”

She will return to Rapa Nui on September 12 to complete phase two of her first movie.