Tapati Festival – Easter Island
The festival began in the 1970s as a way of maintaining and promoting the Rapa Nui culture amongst the islanders, and in particular for generating interest and a sense of identity amongst the children. Only in the last few years has the travelling community woken up to this unique event, and February is now very much high season on the island.
The festival consists of numerous dancing and singing competitions, as well as traditional sporting events such as swimming, canoeing, horse racing, haka pei and the island triathlon. Each year, two young female ‘candidates’ compete with each other to become the Queen of the Tapati for that year, and all of the above competitions carry points, meaning that the candidate with the most points at the end of the fortnight is crowned the Queen.
The main events take place each night on the stage at Hanga Vare Vare, while daytime competitions such as horse racing take place at different locations all around the island. It is a fabulous festival that involves everyone who is on the island at that time, locals and visitors alike.