How Easter Island Works

Easter Island Today

Two men dressed as Rapanui warriors entertain Easter Island tourists in February 2005.
Two men dressed as Rapanui warriors entertain Easter Island tourists in February 2005.
Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

Today, Easter Island is home to 2,000 islanders. They have Chilean citizenship, and many Rapanui have moved there for educational and professional purposes. Polynesian culture thrives, enmeshed with a modern lifestyle. The standing moai, re-erected by archaeologists, demonstrate the Rapanui's reconciliation with their past.

Tourism is an important part of the island's culture, and sociologists and travelers report that the Rapanui are some of the friendliest people in the world. If you travel to Easter Island (you don't have to go in a canoe -- the island has its own airport that you can fly into via special flights from Chile), you can even stay with a Rapanui host family for an authentic experience [source: McCall].

For more information about traveling to Easter Island, modern experiments to move the moai and plenty more history, follow the links below.


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  • BBC. "The Mystery of Easter Island - programme summary." 2003 (14 December 2007).
  • Brookman, David Y. Easter Island Homepage. 2007 (5 December 2007).
  • Clark, Liesl. "Ancient Navigation." NOVA. Novmber 2000 (14 December 2007).
  • Clark, Liesl. "First Inhabitants." NOVA. November 2000 (14 December 2007).
  • Fischer, Steven Roger. "Island at the End of the World." Reaktion Books. 2005.
  • Hunt, Steven. "Rapa Nui and its moai." Discovery Channel. 12 October 1999 (14 December 2007).
  • Kjellgren, Eric and Jennifer Wagelie. "Easter Island." Metropolitan Museum of Art. October 2002 (14 December 2007).
  • Lee, Vincent R. "Vince Lee's Uphill Battle: Moving a Moai (Parts 1 and 2)." NOVA. November 2000 (14 December 2007).
  • McCall, Grant, Ph.D. "Rapanui (Easter Island)." Centre for Pacific Studies: Sydney, Australia.
  • McLaughlin, Shawn and Easter Island Foundation. Island Heritage Frequently Asked Questions. 26 January 2007 (5 December 2007).
  • Mysterious Places. "The Story of Easter Island." Chapters 1-6. (5 December 2007).
  • NOVA. "Stone Giants." November 2000 (14 December 2007).
  • Rjabchikov, Sergei V. "Rongorongo Records of Skulls." 1997-2001 (14 December 2007).