Those who live on Easter Island call it, Rapa Nui. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the island is located on the eastern point of the Polynesian Triangle of which Hawaii and New Zealand make up the other two. Today, Rapa Nui has a population of 3000 that consists of 34 clan families.For two hundred and fifty years a multitude of ethnologists and archaeologists from all over the world have come to discover the secrets of this mysterious island. It contains around six hundred bizarre stone monuments known as ‘Moais’ that measure between four and ten metres high. The island’s large, angry-looking statues have sharp, elongated heads, long, narrow ears, deep-set eyes and thin lips. A large number of the first inhabitants’ cruel rituals took place on the island’s steep coast. It was there that many were sacrificed in the name of the gods. Ahu Tongariki was the island’s largest location for cult ceremonies and its Moais point straight toward the island’s volcano. The stone structures that are situated at Orongo, a former place of ritual, are cave-like buildings in which the dead were entombed within small stone chambers known as ‘Ahus’.During the 1950’s the Norwegian researcher Thor Heyerdahl spent an entire year on Rapa Nui. When first discovered, not one of the figures stood on its original foundation but with the aid of the islanders Heyerdahl managed to re-erect a single Moai.Beginning in 1935 and for the next 30 years, the German pastor, Sebastian Englert, searched the island for its secrets. Today, his discoveries are on display in a museum and one of the finds, a skull, has been expertly reconstructed and now reveals the appearance of one of the island’s original inhabitants. Over the years none of the island’s simple appeal and fascinating mystique has faded and Easter Island is one of the largest cultural and natural treasures in the world and a much-prized heritage of civilisation. Easter Island, Spanish Isla de Pascua, also called Rapa Nui, Chilean dependency in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is the easternmost outpost of the Polynesian island world. It is famous for its giant stone statues. The island stands in isolation 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometres) east of Pitcairn Island and 2,200 miles west of Chile. Forming a triangle 14 miles long by seven miles wide, it has an area of 63 square miles (163 square kilometres); its highest point, Mount Terevaka, is 1,969 feet (600 metres) above sea level. To its original inhabitants the island is known as Rapa Nui (“Great Rapa”) or Te Pito te Henua (“Navel of the World”). The first European visitors, the Dutch, named it Paaseiland (“Easter Island”) in memory of their own day of arrival. Its mixed population is predominantly of Polynesian descent; almost all live in the village of Hanga Roa on the sheltered west coast.