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Marcus Edensky, Alicia Ika and Nils in front of Ahu Tongariki

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King Tu'u Ko Ihu and the moai kava-kava

Except for king Hotu Matu'a, most Easter Island kings are quite anonymous. King Tu'u Ko Ihu is an exception to this. What made him most famous is the invention of the so called moai kava-kava (rib moai) - wooden, naked statues with bones showing. This is the legend about how it all happened.

Recorded by Sebastián Englert
Corrected and typed in Rapa Nui by Paulus Kieviet in 2008
Translated to English by Marcus Edensky in 2013

English
Rapa Nui
At dawn, Tu'u Ko Ihu walked along the road from Tore Tahuna and arrived at Puna Pau.
He oho mai Tu'u Ko Ihu 'i te popohaŋa a te ara mai Tore Tahuna, he tu'u ki Puna Pau.
He saw Hitirau and Nuko te Maŋō as they were sleeping.
He tike'a i a Hitirau, a Nuko te Maŋō, e ha'uru rō 'ā.
The king stopped; he looked carefully; there was no meat, no liver, no intestines - only bones.
He noho te 'ariki, he māroa; he u'i te mata, 'ina he kiko, 'ina he 'ate, 'ina he kōkoma, he ivi nō.
Hitirau had his head to the right and Nuko te Maŋō had his head to the left, with his foot to the head of Hitirau.
Ko Hitirau te pū'oko a te mata'u, ko Nuko te Maŋō a te maui, he va'e a te pū'oko o Hitirau.
The king was looking.
He u'i te 'ariki.
An 'aku-'aku called Moaha shouted from the hill, from Taŋaroa: Wake up, the king has seen your miserable bodies.
He raŋi mai e tahi 'aku-'aku ko Moaha mai ruŋa mai te ma'uŋa, mai Taŋaroa: Ka 'ara kōrua, ku tike'a 'ā to kōrua ika kino e te 'ariki.
He's disappearing, he's disappearing, the king Tu'u Ko Ihu is leaving.
'Ai ka ŋaro, 'ai ka ŋaro, he oho te 'ariki ko Tu'u Ko Ihu.
It shouted again: Wake up, you sleeping people!.
He raŋi haka 'ou mai: ¡Ka 'ara, rava hā'uru kē, kōrua!.
They woke up and shouted: What?
He 'ara, he raŋi: ¿Pē hē rā?.
Tu'u Ko Ihu has seen your miserable bodies.
Ku tike'a 'ā to kōrua ika kino e Tu'u Ko Ihu.
When waking up again, the bones retrieved their meat again, and they looked like living men.
I 'ara haka 'ou era mai te ha'uru haŋa, he kiko haka 'ou te ivi era o ruŋa o te hakari, he tu'u pa he taŋata ora.
They went ahead, turned around and went towards the king.
He oho, he ao a mu'a, he pū a mu'a.
The king saw the two good comrades closing in.
He u'i atu te 'ariki, ka tata mai te repa riva e rua.
They greeted: Greetings, oh king! Welcome, oh king!
He 'aroha mai: ¡'Auē te 'ariki ē! ¡Ka oho mai e te 'ariki ē!.
The king shotued: The same to you, dear friends!.
He raŋi atu te 'ariki: ¡Ko kōrua 'ā, ko māhaki!.
The 'aku-'aku asked: What did you find when you came here?
He 'ui mai te 'aku-'aku: ¿Pē hē ta'a me'e piri, i oho mai ena koe?.
The king said: Nothing.
He kī atu te 'ariki: 'Ina.
They disappeared, so Tu'u Ko Ihu continued along the road.
He ŋaro, 'ai ka oho nō a te ara Tu'u Ko Ihu.
Four youngsters encountered with the king and they shouted: Greetings, dear king, be welcome!.
He pū haka 'ou mai hoko hā repa riva, he raŋi mai: "¡'Auē te Riki ē, koho mai!".
The king shouted: The same to you fellows, please come closer!
He raŋi atu te 'ariki: ¡Ko kōrua 'ana ko ŋā kope, ka oho mai!.
The 'aku-'aku asked: Ay, ay, ay, ay; the thing that you know!
He 'ui mai te 'aku-'aku: "¡Ai ai ai ai, ta'a me'e ma'a!".
The king said: No, I don't know anything.
He kī atu te 'ariki: 'Ina, 'ina he me'e ma'a.
The 'aku-'aku said again: Did you really not find anything, oh king, when you came here?
He kī haka 'ou mai te 'aku-'aku: ¿'Ina 'ō he me'e piri ki a koe e te 'ariki ē, i oho mai ena koe?.
Tu'u Ko Ihu said: No.
He kī atu Tu'u Ko Ihu: 'Ina.
The king continued walking. He encountered youngsters in front of him again. The king saw that they were ten.
He oho haka 'ou te 'ariki, he pū haka 'ou mai a mu'a, he u'i atu te 'ariki ko te repa riva, e tahi te kauatu.
It said: Welcome, dear king!
He 'aroha mai: ¡Ka oho mai, 'auē te 'ariki ē!.
The same to you.
Ko kōrua 'ana.
Did you not meet any fellows when you came here?
¿'Ina ŋā io i piri atu ki a koe, i oho mai ena e te 'ariki ē?.
The king said: No.
He kī atu te 'ariki: 'Ina.
The 'aku-'aku said: He did not see our miserable bodies.
He kī te 'aku-'aku: 'Ina kai tike'a to tātou ika kino.
They disappeared.
He ŋaro.
The king went on, and as he got close to his house in Haŋa Poukura, 'aku-'aku appeared in the hundreds, in the thousands.
He oho te 'ariki, he tupu'aki ki te hare o Haŋa Poukura, he tata mai ka rau, ka rau, ka rau, ka pīere te 'aku-'aku.
They shout: Greetings dear king! Welcome back from your land, from Tore Tahuna!
He raŋi mai: ¡'Auē te 'ariki ē, e Tu'u Ko Ihu ē, ka oho mai mai to'u kāiŋa, mai Tore Tahuna!.
The king Tu'u Ko Ihu responded: The same to you, dear people!
He haka hoki atu te 'ariki a Tu'u Ko Ihu: ¡Ko kōrua 'ā, ka oho mai, 'auē, te mahiŋo ē!.
Have you not met anyone, dear king?
¿'Ina 'ā me'e i piri ki a koe e te 'ariki ē?.
No.
'Ina.
The 'aku-'aku laughed happily, shouted happily and disappeared.
He ka-kata, he koa, he taŋi te karaŋa, he ŋaro te 'aku-'aku.
The king arrived to his house at Haŋa Poukura, entered and went to bed.
He tu'u te 'ariki ki mu'a ki te hare o Haŋa Poukura, he uru ki roto ki te hare, he moe.
The 'aku-'aku arrived again and stayed in front of and behind the house, and by both ends of the house.
Ku oho haka 'ou mai 'ā te 'aku-'aku, ku noho mai 'ā 'i te 'aro o te hare, 'i mu'a, 'i tu'a, 'i te tara o te hare, ararua tara.
They listened to Tu'u Ko Ihu.
He haka roŋo mai ki te vānaŋa o Tu'u Ko Ihu.
He did not speak.
'Ina kai vānaŋa.
They waited for a long time; the sun reached zenith.
He no-noho 'ā; he iri te ra'ā ka tini rō.
The king did not speak.
'Ina kai vānaŋa te 'ariki.
The 'aku-'aku said: He did not see the miserable bodies of Hitirau and Nuko te Maŋō; let us leave this place.
He kī te 'aku-'aku: 'Ina kai tike'a te ika kino o Hitirau, o Nuko te Maŋō; matu tātou ki oho rō.
The ear of king Tu'u Ko Ihu heard this.
E haka roŋo atu era te tariŋa o Tu'u Ko Ihu, o te 'ariki.
The aku-akus marched, they left. Hitiraus participants dispersed - participants in the thousands.
He paka te 'aku-'aku, he oho; he marere te pukuraŋa o Hitirau, ka pīere, ka pīere te pukuraŋa.
The king slept.
He ha'uru te 'ariki.
A new day arrived. The afternoon arrived.
He tu'u te ra'ā, he taha te ra'ā.
The king's servant saw the king's clothes on the floor and the closed door.
He tike'a e te tu'ura o te 'ariki, hokotahi nō ko te kahu mea, ku viri 'ā te papae.
He understood that king Tu'u Ko Ihu was sleeping inside the house.
He aŋi-aŋi, he 'ariki ko Tu'u Ko Ihu ha'uru 'i roto i te hare.
The servant made a fire to cook yams and sweet potatoes.
He oho tou taŋata era, he tu'ura, he puhi te 'umu, he kā, he ta'o i te 'uhi, i te kūmara.
In the sunset the servant opened up the cooking pit, he put the food in a canister and left it in the king's house: Hey, dear king, recieve this and eat!.
'I te ahi-ahi he ma'oa, he 'apa ki roto ki te tāropa, he to-toi, he oho mai, he haka uru ki te 'ariki: "Hē koe, e te 'ariki ē, ¡ka to'o, ka kai!".
He sat and ate. Night fell and the king slept.
He noho, he kai; he pō; he ha'uru te 'ariki.
It was dawn; the king awoke.
He popohaŋa; he 'ara te 'ariki.
The servant made fire again. At zenith he entered the food for the king.
He puhi haka 'ou te 'umu e te tu'ura; he tini te ra'ā; he haka uru haka 'ou i te 'umu ki te 'ariki.
The king ate.
He kai te 'ariki.
It was sunset and the sun was red.
He ahi-ahi, ku mea-mea 'ā te ra'ā.
The king went outside, to the entrance of the house.
He e'a te 'ariki ki haho ki te haha o te hare.
He sat outside and saw three young, beautiful women.
He noho o haho, he u'i atu ko te uka e toru, uka riva.
They came from the corner of the ahu of Haŋa Poukura.
He oho mai mai te tara o te ahu o Haŋa Poukura.
The king saw that they had no clothes.
He u'i atu te 'ariki, 'ina he kahu.
They approached until they were in front of the king.
He oho mai, he tu'u mai ki mu'a ki te 'aro o te 'ariki.
The king greeted: Welcome fellows, you beautiful and pure-hearted fellows!
He 'aroha te 'ariki: "¡Koho mai kōrua ko ŋā kope, ka ma'itaki kōrua ŋā kope!".
They beautiful young women responded: The same to the king.
He haka hoki mai te uka riva: Ko te 'ariki 'ana.
Tu'u Ko Ihu said: Where are you going, fellows?
He kī Tu'u Ko Ihu: ¿Ki hē kōrua ko ŋā kope?.
The beautiful women said: To you, oh king!.
He kī mai te uka riva: "¡Ki a koe nei e te 'ariki ē!".
The king asked: What are your names?.
He 'ui atu te 'ariki: ¿Ko ai to kōrua 'īŋoa?.
The eldest beautiful woman said: I'm Pa'a-pa'a Hiro.
He kī mai te uka riva 'atariki: Au ko Pa'a-pa'a Hiro.
The second: Pa'a-pa'a Kiraŋi.
Te rua: Pa'a-pa'a Kiraŋi.
The third young woman: To'o Tahe Turu mai te Raŋi.
Te toru uka: Ko To'o Tahe Turu mai te Raŋi.
They disappeared up into the air.
He ŋaro, a to-toru uka a ruŋa i ŋaro ai.
Night fell; the king went to sleep.
He pō; he moe te 'ariki.
At mid-day the king heard that there was a food ceremony in 'Akahaŋa.
He 'ōtea; he haka roŋo te 'ariki, ku puhi 'ana te 'umu o 'Akahaŋa.
The king went and arrived to 'Akahaŋa.
He oho te 'ariki, he tu'u ki 'Akahaŋa.
He removed the hot stones from the pit, took the wood and threw it to a side.
He uru te 'umu, he ketu i te tū-tuma, he hoa ki te tapa.
The king shouted to the people: These have to go with me; throw water over them!
He raŋi te 'ariki ki te taŋata: ¡Ka oho te me'e era ka pū-pū [txt: pūpú "rociar" - should this be rū-rū, or pī-pī?] hai vai!.
The fire was extinguished. The king took the firewood that was supposed to be for the food pit and put it on his shoulder. He went to Haŋa Poukura.
He mate te ahi, he to'o mai te 'ariki i te tū-tuma kā ki te 'umu, he 'amo ki te ŋao, he oho ki Haŋa Poukura.
In the evening the king went from Haŋa Poukura to Tore Tahuna.
'I te pō he oho te 'ariki mai Haŋa Poukura ki Tore Tahuna.
He entered the house and went to sleep. At mid-day he took the kautoki and held it in his hand. He took the toromiro and carved the eyes, he carved the nose, he carved the ears, he carved the throat, he carved the torso, he carved the hands, he carved the stomach, he carved the ribs, he carved the thighs, he carved the shoulders, he carved the knees, he carved the heels and he carved the feet.
He o'o ki roto ki te hare, he moe; he 'ōtea; he to'o te kautoki, he ma'u ki te rima, he to'o mai i te toromiro he tarai i te mata, he tarai i te ihu, he tarai i te tariŋa, he tarai i te ŋao, he tarai i te uma, he tarai i te rima, he tarai i te kōpū, he tarai i te kava-kava, he tarai i te hūhā, he tarai i te papakona, he tarai i te taki 'eve, he tarai i te uho 'eve, he tarai i te hoto, he tarai i te horeko, he tarai i te puku, he tarai i te va'e.
The king saw that the first mōai was Hitirau, the mōai kava-kava.
He u'i te 'ariki, ko Hitirau te mōai ra'e, mōai kava-kava.
He made another one: Nuko te Maŋō, the mōai kava-kava.
He aŋa haka 'ou: ko Nuko te Maŋō, mōai kava-kava.
He made another one: Pa'a-pa'a Hiro.
He aŋa haka 'ou: ko Pa'a-pa'a Hiro.
He carved another one: Pa'a-pa'a Kiraŋi.
He tarai haka 'ou: Pa'a-pa'a Kiraŋi.
He carved another mōai: To'o Tahe Tu'u mai te Raŋi.
He tarai haka 'ou i te mōai: To'o Tahe Tu'u mai te Raŋi.
The king took a thread made of mahute and braided it, and he passed it below both armpits of the moais
He to'o mai te 'ariki i te hau, hau mahute, he hiro, he haka uru a roto a te ha'iŋa ararua o te mōai.
He let the moais hang in the thread.
He tau i te mōai, he haka re-reva.
He took more thread. He tied one thread to the throat of the moais and another one to the feet.
He to'o haka 'ou mai i te hau; he here e tahi hau ki te ŋao o te mōai, e tahi hau ki te va'e.
They were hanging straight in a line. Pulling the strings with the hand made the moais walk.
He papa, he haka uŋa; he haro mai e tahi potu o te hau, he ma'u ki te rima, he haka ha'ere i te mōai.
The house was given the name: The house of making moais walk.
He nape te 'īŋoa o te hare: Ko te hare haka ha'ere mōai.
People came and then spread the word to other people; the moais are walking in the house of the king Tu'u Ko Ihu.
He oho mai te taŋata, he 'a'amu ki tētahi taŋata; ku ha'ere 'ā te mōai 'i roto i te hare o te 'ariki o Tu'u Ko Ihu.

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