A crazy sport created by isolation

A strong hand pushed my head under the watery kie'a (clay) that stained the bathtub red. I'd been searching for Rapa Nui for a long time ­- and it seemed that in this strange moment I had finally found it.

Easter Island, its Polynesian people and their language are all called Rapa Nui. They've lived on this remote island since at least the 12th Century, when they sculpted the first of its iconic Moai statues, all of which symbolically face inwards. Knowing this, I'd always imagined the Rapa Nui to be a conservative culture, their dramatic isolation creating a society of unshakable traditional values. But when I saw a photo of a Rapa Nui tobogganing down the grass slope of a volcano on a banana-tree trunk, it left me wondering: what does it mean to be an islander today?

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