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Abstract

As an outsider to the culture of Rapa Nui and a fleeting visitor in the life of Nico Haoa, I can only comment on the intermittent but influential experiences we shared over the last 23 years. My first connection with Nico and his wife Rosita came in 1980. Nico was low-key, and really I must say with some embarrassment that I have a hard time formulating a memory of him at that time. My interaction mainly was with Rosita, who insisted that the noisy motorcycle be left out on the street. That irritated me no end. During that year, there was an invasion of elderly (30+ years) graduate students and faculty that included Georgia Lee, Joan Seaver Kurze, Jo Anne Van Tilburg, George Gill, myself, and a few others, all who gravitated toward Rosita's residencia, as it was then known. It was a pioneering business; a little bit of (slightly western) heaven that permitted an escape from a cultural setting we were unprepared to deal with. The tourist trade was just beginning in those years, and Nico gradually built room after room and catered to the foreigners who were fascinated with the myths of Rapa Nui. In retrospect, it was clearly the right choice, as Hotel 'Otai is the premier place to stay on Rapa Nui.

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