If you’re in Easter Island, it’s all about the stone monoliths called “Moai”. The Moai are set on ceremonial platforms called “Ahu”, and as they are set, they are given eyes and a top knot known as a Pukai. This Moai is part of the Ahu Taha’i, which is right next to the only town on Easter Island, called Hanga Roa. The Moai were built approximately between approximately 500-1600 A.D. The Moai were built to house the good spirits of the tribes of Easter Island (or Rapa Nui, as it is called locally). The good spirits are known as manu, and only inhabit the moai once the eyes are in place and the pukai is on top after the moai are raised upright on the ahu platform.All of the moai were originally placed facing inland toward the villages to better protect the villages. The manu are believed to have left the moai sometime in the mid 19th century, which is why they were toppled. By the 20th century, all of the moai had been toppled. They were restored by archeologists such as Thor Heyerdahl and William Mulloy.
The island was formed primarily from 3 volcanoes, and was originally inhabited by Polynesian peoples who traveled over 2,000 miles by canoes to colonize the island. The largest of the volcanoes is Rano Kau, which now has a huge fresh water lake in its crater.
Sometime after they arrived, they started building the moai, which were carved from volcanic rock in a quarry next to one of the volcanoes known as Ranu Rakuru.
These Moai are unique on the island because they face the sea to the west where Polynesia lies. Legend has it these 7 Moai represent the original 7 warriors from Polynesia sent to scout Rapa Nui before the colonizing ships arrived.