This is the second part of my photo-trilogy “Rapa Nui- The Island. The People. The Museum”.
Rapa Nui are native people settled on Easter Island in the first millenium CE and created a thriving Rapa Nui culture, as evidenced by the moai and other artifacts. However, human activity and overpopulation led to gradual deforestation and extinction of natural resources, which caused the demise of the Rapa Nui civilization. By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island’s population had dropped to 2,000–3,000 from a high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier. Diseases carried by European sailors and Peruvian slave raiding of the 1860s further reduced the Rapa Nui population, down to 111(!) in 1877. According to the 2012 census, Easter Island has about 5,800 residents, of which some 60% are descendants of the aboriginal Rapa Nui. [Wikipedia]
The photos below have been taken during the Vai Te Mihi show, which I highly recommend to see. The show is so impressive that it’s hard to believe the Rapa Nui dancers at night are “normal” Rapa Nui people during the day- the artists, sellers, LAN Airlines reps, etc.
Click on image to view full size.