Ageing Rock Stars

Ageing Rock Stars Drawing more than 50,000 tourists every year, the iconic moai statues of Rapa Nui are falling apart. Whilst debates continue over how to preserve them, locals also face a struggle over their independence.
Despite their formidable appearance, the moai statues of Rapa Nui are delicate and both foreign and local experts are in a race against time to preserve them against the elements. "These objects are very fragile. They're not going to last forever", says Dr Jo Anne Van Tilburg. But the moai are also at the center of larger debate over the Easter islanders' culture and independence. "Our ancestors left behind a fortune for us. Like the Middle East have oil, this is our oil, our patrimony, our culture. We don't need Chile", says Erity Teave, the Human Rights Minister in the Rapa Nui parliament. While the dispute over autonomy continues, it's the preservation of the moai that dominates. As the island's most precious resource, the inhabitants ultimately depend on them for their survival.

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