Home » Taken Rapanui Heritage: Addressing Legacies of Empire

Taken Rapanui Heritage: Addressing Legacies of Empire



Thousands of Rapanui artefacts sit in the collections of museums across the western world with stories untold. They remain invisible to the descendants of those who made, used them and gave them meaning. Some have been published in books or are available to view online, but who has curated this narrative? Who can access them emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually? Not the people of Rapa Nui Easter Island to whom they spiritually belong.

Miles de artefactos rapanui se encuentran en las colecciones de museos de todo el mundo occidental con historias no contadas. Permanecen invisibles para los descendientes de quienes los hicieron, los usaron y les dieron significado. Algunos han sido publicados en libros o están disponibles para ver en línea, pero quién ha curado esta narrativa? Quién puede acceder a ellos emocional, física, intelectual y espiritualmente? No la gente de Rapa Nui Isla de Pascua a quien pertenecen espiritualmente.


Taken Rapanui Heritage busca ayudar a reconectar este invaluable tesoro cultural colectivo con las comunidades de origen. Al hacerlo, también proporcionamos un estudio de caso que nos ayuda a todos a explorar y comprender los legados de imperios pasados ​​en el presente. Nuestro proyecto es una colaboración entre Rapanui Pioneers Society en Rapa Nui Easter Island y The Earth Museum en la Isla de Wight. Caminamos en los zapatos de otros intentos de documentar el patrimonio rapanui en museos de todo el mundo, ante los cuales humildemente inclinamos la cabeza. No intentamos (al menos actualmente) ser exhaustivos en nuestra cobertura, sino crear recursos de aprendizaje que inspiren el debate.

Taken Rapanui Heritage seeks to help re-connect this invaluable collective cultural treasure with source communities. In doing so we also provide a case study that helps us all explore and understand legacies of past empires into the present. Our project is a collaboration between Rapanui Pioneers Society on Rapa Nui Easter Island and The Earth Museum on the Isle of Wight. We walk in the shoes of other attempts to document Rapanui heritage in museums around the world, to which we humbly bow our heads. We do not (at least presently) attempt to be comprehensive in our coverage but to create learning resources that inspire debate.


We have created a trio of interactive maps and associated commentaries for you to explore.



The Island Artefact Map


On this map we digitally reconnect cultural treasures now in museums far away with those places on Rapa Nui that are their spiritual home.

Polynesian people mastered navigation to an incredibly high level and navigated unchallenged over the Pacific Ocean for many centuries…


The Museums Artefact Map


On this map we illustrate a selection of museums across the world which hold Rapanui cultural heritage in their collections.

European and American explorers arrived on the shores of this Pacific Island as transitory visitors passing through, spending a few days at most…


The Expeditions Map


On this map we illustrate many of the ports of origin for expeditions that took Rapanui cultural heritage, and trace the routes for a selection of expeditions.

Ships of faraway empires sailing across the Pacific Ocean found themselves at the shores of Rapa Nui Island in the C18th and C19th. Rapanui people…


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