The So-called Mystery of Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Outside/In from New Hampshire Public Radio asks, who moved the giant monolithic statues of Rapa Nui, a remote island in the South Pacific? And how did they do it? These questions have been at the center of much speculation and debate since Europeans first arrived there 300 years ago on Easter Sunday, 1722, and called it “Easter Island.” The most popular theory was that this remote civilization destroyed itself – cutting down all the trees to make contraptions for moving statues.

But according to the indigenous people of Rapa Nui, their ancestors didn’t need to cut down any trees to transport the statues. In fact, their oral history has always been clear about how the moai were transported.

What happens when your community becomes the subject of a global mystery? A parable of human failure and ecological collapse? What’s the true story? And who gets to tell it?

Aired Saturday, March 26, 2022 at 9am. Listen to it here:

Additional Credits

Reported, produced, and mixed by Felix Poon
Edited by Taylor Quimby
Executive Producer: Rebecca Lavoie
Additional Editing: Justine Paradis, Jessica Hunt, Rebecca Lavoie, and Erika Janik
Special thanks to Effie Kong, and Daniela Allee for her Spanish and Rapanui voiceovers.
Theme: Breakmaster Cylinder
Additional Music by Blue Dot Sessions

Related Website