Orongo ceremonial site

Orongo ceremonial village sits in a not-to-be-bettered location, backing onto a verdant, flooded, reed-filled volcanic caldera and looking out over sheer cliffs onto the Pacific Ocean and nearby islets. This is a historic ceremonial site, where an annual ritual competition was enacted. The object was to find the first egg laid by the sooty tern (a migratory bird) on the largest of three islets, some 2km away. Swimmers from each of the island’s kin-groups would compete for the honour of being the ‘birdman’ – an extraordinary feat, given the cliffs, distance, and choppy, shark-infested waters.

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