Hoa Hakananai’a, Moai from Easter Island

My ARCHAEO-Crush for the month of June is a statue you will seldom see in a museum…

A boy sketches Hoa Hakananai'a, the moai at the British Museum.

A boy sketches Hoa Hakananai’a, the moai at the British Museum.














Type: artefact (stone statue)
Civilisation: Polynesia, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Date: circa 1000 CE.
ARCHAEO-Crush: The moai (statues) on Easter Island are rather mysterious and I find them interesting. However, I can’t say that I know much about them. I like their imposing presence on the island landscape and their minimalist aesthetics. The statue on the photo is called Hoa Hakananai’a (which apparently means ‘hidden or stolen friend’) and is one of the smaller statues: it measures 2.42m tall and weighs about 4 tons. Imagine the size and weight of the larger moai! Hoa Hakananai’a was brought back from Rapa Nui on the HMS Topaze and was offered to the British Admiralty, who in turn offered it to Queen Victoria, who gave it to the British Museum in 1869…
Bucket list status: I saw Hoa Hakananai’a at the British Museum a few years ago. I had no idea there was a moai at the BM and I spent a long while staring at it, thinking I might never have the chance to see a moai again.  I go say hello each time I visit the BM; he used to be in the corner of the Millennium Court, but now he’s in the Wellcome Gallery, looking more majestic than ever.  If I have the opportunity of going to Rapa Nui, I shall go see the moai…
Additional information: Hoa Hakananai’a is one of the rare moai outside of Easter Island. Rapa Nui National Park is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, number 715.

4 thoughts on “Hoa Hakananai’a, Moai from Easter Island

  1. Nick always wanted to visit Easter Island, never made it. I wonder if he communicated this fascination to his students. saralaine millet

    • Hi Saralaine,
      I’m not sure if my fascination stems from something Nick might have said. He certainly was interested in many things outside of Egyptology/Nubiology and I can totally relate to that!

  2. My parents visited Easter Island on a world cruise, and picked up a replica head (4 ft tall) that they put in their front garden. The local people soon took to identifying their place as “the house with the phallus outside”. :-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.