The Moai of Rapa Nui – the spirit of the people
Rapa Nui is an island of mystery and lost secrets. It is most famous for the giant stone statues called moai that stand in silent sentinel over the island and its people.
Rapa Nui, is also known as Easter Island and is one of the world’s most mysterious places. The Rapanui created a civilization on one of the remotest places on earth, a tiny speck of an island that lies in the vast emptiness of the South Pacific Ocean.
The island is roughly triangular shaped and is situated 2,300 miles to the west of the South American coast and is southeast of Tahiti 2,500 miles away with the nearest place of human habitation being Pitcairn Island which is 1,260 miles distant.
Rapa Nui is under the auspices of Chile who in 1935 made the island a national park. In 1996 UNESCO made it a World heritage Site.
Early Polynesian colonists of Rapa Nui
How the original settlers found their way to the island and why they came is shrouded in mystery. The people are believed to be descended from Polynesians who had great physical endurance, and remarkable seamanship and navigational abilities. They colonized many isolated and distant south Pacific islands using nothing more than ocean going canoes to voyage across vast stretches of empty ocean.
Although the exact date is not known it is believed that a group of around fifty Polynesians led by a king called Hotu Matu’a arrived on the Rapa Nui in a double-hulled canoe between 600 AD and 800 AD. Some experts give earlier dates while others say later and the debate still continues.