The recording on March’s online research seminar, in which Professor Colin Richards and Professor Jane Downes took us to the Cook Islands.
In Roots and Routes in Polynesia: investigating the fabulous Ara Metua and the colonisation of Rarotonga, Cook Islands, Colin and Jane look at the Ara Metua (also known as the Great Road of Toi) that runs around the island of Rarotonga and its significance in the Polynesian traditions of journeying and voyaging.
The Ara Metua is the largest “monument” in Polynesia. As a circuit road, it has neither start nor finish but formally links different areas of the island. It also connects the islanders with the founding ancestor Tang’ia because it materialises and commemorates the route taken when Rarotonga was settled and sub-divided into different sectors.
The seminar, a joint event with the Orkney Archaeology Society, focuses on the two professors’ current research into the Ara Metua – its building, and associated maraes (temples), in a broader Polynesian context.