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Sustainable construction
contrucción toki rapa nui


The group proposed that Toki Rapa Nui’s Developmental Center should be an Earthship, an innovative type of construction invented by Michael Reynolds. Mahani Teave and Enrique Icka met with Reynolds in Taos, New Mexico, to learn more about Earthship Biotecture firsthand. After long conversations they decided to do their project together.

Michael Reynolds flew to Rapa Nui months later with a flower design that could be built in sections and house the School of Music.  His Taos team would give theoretical classes and hands-on workshops to the Rapa Nui community on how to build completely self-sustainable constructions using recycled materials on hand. The group would build as much as possible in just one month.  For Toki’s young founders it meant meeting deadlines, raising enough money for the initial phase of construction, buying the supplies they needed in mainland Chile and  transporting them to the most remote island in the world.

Collecting Funds: Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is an international platform capable of reaching the whole world: it drew hundreds of national and international donors who believed in Toki’s dream and gave them enough means to start their project

Businesses and Partners Join Them

Toki’s team worked for 50 days and nights preparing for the November 2014 arrival of the Taos team and the additional volunteers who would be accompanying them.

Toki also sought out financing among the island businesses that were committed to environment. This brought Toki and Entel Chile together. Later another partner, Desafio Levantemos Chile, joined them, helping them resolve horrendous logistical problems.

A Dream Fulfilled


The uniting of forces, wills, and much love created a miracle

On November 3, 2014, more than 70 volunteers from all parts of the world began arriving. They wanted to help make turn this crazy dream into reality and to learn about Earthship Biotecture which seeks a more harmonious relation between man and nature.

These volunteers lived in tents, donating their time, energy and love. The whole Rapa Nui community began to react. Generous neighbors in Tahai opened their yards, shared houses, stoves, and bathrooms. They opened their lives to these foreigners who had come to help build the School for their children. Rapa Nui women began cooking for the group and called upon other relatives to donate animals and produce. Through these wonderful meals they showed their gratitude to the builders.

The walls of the school remain impregnated with this energy. It was epic.

Inauguration Concert

Earthship Biotecture construction offers a practical solution to many of the island’s problems. It uses solar panels to generate electricity, catches and stores large amounts of rain water, and has a system to clean up sewage. It reuses great quantities of garbage as construction materials: the School of Music was built with 2,500 tires, 40,000 tin cans, 12 tons of cardboard, 12 tons of recycled plastic and 25,000 glass bottles.

The School of Music and the Arts was the first totally self-sustainable and ecological music school in Latin America and Oceania and ultimately reflects the labor of more than 1,000 volunteers from all parts of the world.

The first phase and afterwards

The construction created an echo nationally and internationally, winning the Premio Nacional de Medioambiente (National Environmental Prize) in 2015 which is awarded by the El Mercurio newspaper. The Universidad Catolica, and the Recyclapolis Foundation.

After the initial construction phase (Nov.-Dec.2014) drew to a close, construction resumed with volunteers from organizations and schools and with tourists who were drawn to work for the common good of all Rapa Nui children and adolescents.

It was the joining of thousands of hands and hearts, arduous work, and an untiring dream that came together in April 2016 when the basic construction of the School of Music and the Arts drew to an end. With ENTEL Chile and Desafio Levantemos Chile, the principal grand financers of the construction project, we  inaugurated our new ecological and self-sustainable building with great joy.

"Our school is an example and reflection of a generous society. We hope that the foundations of our school become the foundations of the constructive changes we dream about for our beloved island. NGO Toki has been and we hope will continue to be an instrument to carry forth with this project. We want to be a space where the people can propose and find answers to the needs of the Rapa Nui community. Every year we are closer. ONG Toki has always incorporated both ancestral wisdom and new technology into areas of sustainable development, patrimonial rescue, and has always sought the support of the Rapa Nui community beyond our direct beneficiaries (students, their families, and our teachers)."

Mahani Teave and Enrique Icka

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