We present a new model for the Easter plate in which rift propagation has resulted in the formation of a rigid plate between the propagating and dying ridges. We use the distribution of earthquakes, eleven new focal mechanisms, and existing bathymetric and magnetic data to describe the tectonics of this area. Both the Easter-Nazca and Easter-Pacific Euler poles are sufficiently close to the Easter plate to cause rapid changes in rates and directions of motion along the boundaries. The east and west boundaries are propagating and dying ridges; the southwest boundary is a slow-spreading ridge and the northern boundary is a complex zone of convergent and transform motion. The Easter plate may reflect the tectonics of rift propagation on a large scale, where rigid plate tectonics requires boundary reorientation. We use simple schematic models to illustrate the general features and processes which occur at plates resulting from large-scale rift propagation.