On the road in Rarotonga: Rethinking the ‘Ara Metua’ in the context of Ancient Polynesia
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Dr Ragnhild Ljosland
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Professors Jane Downes and Colin Richards present findings from their 'Roots and Routes: Pacific Islands Tangible Cultural Heritage' UHI Global Challenges Research Fund project in this presentation. Archaeological field work is being utilised to examine and document the 'Ara Metua' - the Great Road of Toi - in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, and associated Marae temples and houses. The Ara Metua, which encircled the island and which oral tradition records was the method of establishing the first settlements in Rarotonga, is situated in the context and significance of roads elsewhere in ancient Polynesia - notably Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and Hawaii. Heritage management issues, and the value of the Ara and Marae to present day Cook Islands communities is also discussed.
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