The Easter Island legend reassessed on TV and by some inspiring photographs by Cristián Moreno Pakarati

Those Easter Island statues continue to cast their spell over me. I’m not alone in my fascination with those magnificent stone carvings, known as Moai,  lost, somehow, in the remotest part of the Pacific Ocean – apparently abandoned by the native population when life became unsustainable there. I had read all those theories about how the original Polynesian settlers had created a sophisticated culture cut off from the World but who had deforested their home so that they could never leave it again. I should’ve known, of course, that we in the West are good at “blaming the natives.”

The magnificence and the desolation of these abandoned statues has provoked many romantic theories about Easter Island, or to use its proper name, Rapa Nui. The probable reality, according to recent research revealed in English Archaeologist Dr Jago Cooper’s BBC4 documentary, Easter Island: Mysteries Of A Lost World is an old old story.

Jago Cooper

The tragedy of Rapa Nui is another example of Western colonialism’s brutal and insensitive interference. It was, Dr Cooper believes,  a mixture of European diseases, Roman Catholic cultural imperialism and the slave trade that really did it for the Rapa Nui people who were doing perfectly well without the Europeans or the Americans until they were “discovered” in Easter week, 1722.

One of the historians in the programme was a direct descendent of Rapa Nui ancestors, 

Cristián Moreno Pakarati who agrees with this theory and now campaigns for Easter Island’s cultural reassessment. He has brought the whole subject alive again for me with his inspiring photographs reproduced here. 
Cristián Moreno Pakarati
If I have always wanted to visit this wonderful place, these photographs have doubled my enthusiasm, one day, to make that trip. Tourism, if kept under control, might actually help Easter Island to live an independent life away from its current ruler, Chile. Maybe, by visiting and helping the local economy, we could undo some of the damage brought to the island in the 18th and 19th Centuries. It is obviously a truly wonderful island with many untold stories calling out to us from those rocks.

photography by Cristián Moreno Pakarati

Time for some music, I think:



My novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.

It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region’s Amazon site for Kindle orders)

You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:
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