Dream Gates

Dream Gates

The ancient art of Polynesian dream navigation

William Hodges, "A View of the Monuments of Easter Island" (1775)

According to Polynesian tradition, the first human to see Easter Islandwas a dream traveler and the island was settled because a young king trusted the traveler’s story and acted upon it.

In a time of savage warfare amongst the Polynesian islanders, a priest named Hau Maka, who was also the royal tattooist, went scouting for a new home for his people. He flew across the ocean in a dream and saw Rapa Nui (Easter Island). On returning from his dream journey, he described the island and its location in great detail to his young chief, Hotu Matu’a.


The king trusted Hau Maka’s dream. He gathered all of his people and ordered them to prepare for a long sea journey to a new land. The people set sail with everything they had. After two months, they reached Anakena Bayon Easter Island, and found it just as the king’s tattooist had described.

The faces of the dreaming tattooist and his king may be among the enigmatic moai, or stone monoliths, ofEaster Island, which are said to represent the original settlers and ancient kings.

  • Justin Patrick Moore

    Great story Robert, but it’s a shame they didn’t use dream navigation to get off the island before they stripped it of its resources… or use it to cut back and preserve their resources.

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