A Brief History of the Rapa Nui Journal
The Rapa Nui Journal began life in 1986 when Georgia Lee was directing research projects on Easter Island, sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley. This program provided paying volunteers whose donations supported individual projects. During these years, small groups came to Easter Island for a few weeks, left, and then another group arrived. This supplied labor for the project as well as financial support, and crews ranged in age from college age to retirees. With few exceptions, the volunteers fell in love with the island; some returned time and again, and many, after leaving, wrote back begging for news about the island, their friends on the island, the project, and in general, asking “what’s new in Hangaroa?”
Georgia found herself writing far too many letters, trying to respond to all those who wrote. In those days, she only had one rusty typewriter; letters and notes from the island all were hand-written. So, she began a small newsletter which she copied and sent to former members of her crews. It was called “Rapa Nui Notes.” It contained bits of information about what was happening on the island and Georgia added news about research projects and stuck in “fillers” about new publications, etc. The first one was only 4 pages long! To her surprise, it was a great hit with her former participants.
Rapa Nui Notes grew steadily and attracted the attention of Alan Drake, who offered his skills in producing it; Alan’s help turned it into a professional looking publication (Winter 1987-88) of 8 pages. We began to receive papers by scholars and, as the quality of the contents increased, so did our subscriptions. Finally, we decided that we needed to upgrade and changed the name to Rapa Nui Journal. This was in Summer of 1988. Grant McCall dubbed it “the premier source for Easter Island events and scientific studies.”
Rapa Nui Journal is now edited by Mara Mulrooney, Assistant Anthropologist at the Bishop Museum. Under her guidance, it has grown a 100 page per issue peer-reviewed bi-annual publication.
Sadly, due to the increased costs of printing and mailing and the decline in subscription revenue, the October 2016 issue of the Rapa Nui Journal will be the final printed issue.
The Easter Island Foundation aims to build a solid endowment to ensure the continuation of its projects. Your support is needed and appreciated. Please join us in helping to preserve this unique and isolated Polynesian island.
HARD COPY BACK ISSUES OF THE RAPA NUI JOURNAL
Original back issues (and copies) of the Rapa Nui Journal are available for a nominal fee. Occasionally we have complete sets of back issues; please contact us regarding availability.
PDFS OF BACK ISSUES AND INDIVIDUAL ARTICLES
Please note that we now have selected issues as well as individual articles available in pdf format. For access, visit the Tables of Contents page on the right sidebar.Easter Island Foundation P.O. Box 6774 Los Osos CA 93412-6774 805.528.8558 (telephone) books “at” islandheritage.org (email)