After a Chilean man hit one of Easter Island’s famous stone statues with his pick-up truck on Sunday, the island’s mayor is calling for new vehicle restrictions. After the crash, which caused significant damage, the man was arrested and charged with damaging a national monument.
According to Camilo Rapu, the president of the Ma’u Henua community, which serves as a steward for the moai statues, “As people know, the moai are sacred structures that possess a religious value for the people of Rapa Nui. Something like this isn’t just dreadful, it’s an offence against a living culture that has spent the last few years fighting to regain its historic and archaeological heritage.”
The island’s mayor, Pedro Edmunds Paoa, believes that the incident demonstrates the immediate need for more traffic controls around the archaeological site.
There are about 1,000 moai figures on the island, which the local Rapa Nui people believe carry the spirits of prominent ancestors.