Man crashes bakkie into Easter Island statue

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 6 March 2020

Easter Island locals were outraged after a man accidentally drove his bakkie into one of the island’s famous statues on Sunday 1 March.

According to the BBC, a man who lives on the Chilean territory island drove his Chevrolet pick-up truck into on of the statues, and was arrested shortly after for damaging a national monument.

Images on social media show the extent of the damage, which depict the islander’s bakkie practically mounting a heap of crumbled stone and essentially the ruins of one of the ancient monoliths.

The BBC reported that the mayor has called for motor restrictions to be put in place to prevent similar incidents from occurring again. The area has since been cordoned off.

On a local Facebook community group called Ma’u Henua, footage of the incident was shared and others responded and voiced their outrage over the ‘sacrilege’ of damaging these ancient structures, also known as moai. Much of Easter Island and the sites of the statues form part of the Rapa Nui National Park, which has been a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

The mysterious Easter Island statues were carved and erected by the island’s indigenous Rapa Nui people. Some 900 statues, the largest being about 10 metres tall and weighing 80 tons, are thought to have been built to honour the islanders’ ancestors. The errant bakkie actually joins a tradition of ‘attacks’ on the imposing structures, which have survived various scourges and rebellions in which they were toppled and then resurrected.

While this tiny landmass in Polynesia originally bears the name of its indigenous people, Rapa Nui is more commonly known as Easter Island because Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen arrived there in April 1722 and wished to commemorate the Christian holiday.

Featured image: Ma’u Henua/Facebook

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