Our theory on the Moai…

So we went to this incredibly isolated, but oh so beautiful place called “Easter Island”. Although it belongs officially to Chile since 1888, it breathes the temperament and history of its Polynesian ancestors. Because that is one thing for sure: the Rapa Nui (the inhabitants of Easter Island) came from Polynesia.

Traveller Moai up close

The Traveller Moai of Tongariki

But what about those Moai? Those beautifully carved, elegant, huge statues. With their back at the sea and calmly looking inland, it seems they are waiting for something to happen. But when you see those statues, you just cannot stop asking yourself the following questions: Why are they here? And what function do they have? And how did they transport them (for information: the biggest one ever transported and erected on an ahu (altar) measured 9.20 meters!)? Many scientists have been inventing many diverse and creative theories, but none really convinces and the truth is that until today, nobody has the REAL answer to those questions. But at least we have some ideas about how they transported them…

Guide: Actually there are six theories on how the Moai got transported. First there is the theory of Thor Heyerdahl who proposed that the Moai got transported facedown on wood. This theory cannot be proven true however, as there hasn’t been enough wood on the Easter Islands. Second, the theory of Pavel…

Vera: Pfff… Personally I think they are all wrong. I think at some point, the Easter Island got taken over by some alien force, planting secret seeds from which the Moai sprouted.

Jean-Christophe (JC): Not at all, they could be carried.

Vera: What do you mean, like by a bird? A swallow carrying a Moai?

JC: It could grip it by the ears!

Vera: It’s not a question of where he grips it! It’s a simple question of weight ratios! A five ounce bird could not carry a 10 tonnes Moai!

Guide: Are you guys paying attention? The third theory…

JC: Listen, in order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings 43 times every second, right? So in that case…

Vera: …it could be carried by an African swallow!

JC: Oh, yeah, an African swallow maybe, but not a European swallow, that’s my point.

Vera: Oh, yeah, I agree with that…

Guide: The fourth theory…

JC: But then of course African swallows are not migratory.

Vera: Oh, yeah…

JC: So they couldn’t bring a Moai back anyway…

Vera: Wait a minute — supposing two swallows carried it together?

JC: No, they’d have to have it on a line.

Vera: Well, simple! They’d just use a standard creeper!

JC: What, held under the dorsal guiding feathers?

Vera: Well, why not?


In front of Moais at Anakena Beach

Us enjoying Anakena beach and the Moais

Vera & Jean-Christophe


  1. Posted June 27, 2008 at 11:57 | Permalink

    Hallo JC en Vera,

    dat vind ik ook altijd boeiend, je bezig houden op welke manier het kunstwerk tot stand is gekomen…blijft gissen maar leuk om te brainstormen. Blij te lezen dat jullie NZ als indrukwekkend hebben ervaren, als ik terug kijk op mijn verblijf /vakantie aldaar 26 jaar geleden , heb ik dat gevoel nog steeds..jullie zien er nog steeds stralend uit en dat is niet alleen aan de buitenkant…wat een ervaringen hebben jullie opgedaan, onvergetelijk!!

    Liefs, Yvonne ( Ben, Eef, Steffie)

  2. Posted June 28, 2008 at 0:45 | Permalink

    Do very small Moais also float in water?
    And will you pass by the capital of Assyria?

    ..by the way, what is the capital of Assyria?

  3. Posted June 28, 2008 at 0:50 | Permalink

    I don’t know!


  4. Vera
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 0:52 | Permalink

    @Daniel: Well if you would consider two ducks (only European ones, not American ones) carrying a piece of wood in between them on which they could attach the Moai, it would maybe float… ;-)

    @JC: Game over!

  5. Posted January 20, 2010 at 1:35 | Permalink

    very nice