He was unable to elicit a Polynesian name for the island itself, and concluded that there may not have been one.
However, there are two words pronounced pito in Rapa Nui, one meaning 'end' and one 'navel', and the phrase can thus also mean "the Navel of the World".
the nearest town with a population over 500 is Rikitea, on the island of Mangareva, 2,606 km (1,619 mi) away; the nearest continental point lies in central Chile, 3,512 kilometres (2,182 mi) away.
Easter Island is a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888.
The island was first scouted after Haumaka dreamed of such a far off country, Hotu deemed it a worthwhile place to flee from a neighboring chief, one whom he had already lost three battles.
The phrase appears to have been used in the same sense as the designation of "Land's End" at the tip of Cornwall.The current Polynesian name of the island, Rapa Nui ("Big Rapa"), was coined after the slave raids of the early 1860s, and refers to the island's topographic resemblance to the island of Rapa in the Bass Islands of the Austral Islands group.The phrase Te pito o te henua has been said to be the original name of the island since French ethnologist Alphonse Pinart gave it the romantic translation "the Navel of the World" in his Voyage à l'Île de Pâques, published in 1877.By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island's population had dropped to 2,000–3,000 from an estimated high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier.European diseases and Peruvian slave raiding in the 1860s further reduced the Rapa Nui population, to a low of only 111 inhabitants in 1877.After a brief stay at Anakena, the colonists settled in different parts of the island. Tu'u ko Iho is viewed as the leader who brought the statues and caused them to walk.