Rapa Nui/Easter Island

220px-Easter island and south america

Settled by Polynesians, Rapa Nui, or Easter Island,  is  located about  half way between Chile and Tahiti. Imagine traveling all that way by canoe or catamaran.  

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About 890 moai statues, carved from island rock, are found scattered all over the island. Carved at Rana Raraku and moved to different locations around the island, the moai represent a deceased “Long Ear” chief or other important person.  Their body is interred within the Ahu, or ceremonial platform upon which the moai stand.

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Rana Raraku quarry where the moai were carved.  Many moai  were never moved to their final destination and still reside in the quarry.

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Tradition says that the “Long Ears” had enslaved the “Short Ears” and forced them to carve and move the moai to various places around the island.  When the “Short Ears” rebelled and killed the “Long Ears,” they toppled all the moai on the island.  

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Most of the islands moai have not been restored to their upright position and remain face down.

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Ahu Tongariki is the largest Moai site with 15 resurrected  moai standing on an ahu or  ceremonial platform.  One of them has a red hairknot on its head (pukao).  The tallest is over 9 meters and weighs about 86 tons.

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Ahu Akivi is a sacred place and distinct from the other platforms.  It is located inland and faces the ocean, whereas  others are along the coast and face inland.  Tradition says it represents 7 explorers that were sent by the Polynesian king Hotu Matu’a to find a new homeland.

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Moai statue at sunset - breathtaking

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Of course, we got a view, I mean exposure to other forms of culture, too.  Oh, JOHN (the one with the long feathers in his hair and marvelous tattoo and tight abs and…) was also our bus driver to the event.  Unfortunately, he was fully dressed then, or I would have ridden up front, if Silvia didn’t beat me there!  

© Phyllis Nethercot 2015