Hanga Roa

Hanga Roa is the main town, harbour and capital of Easter Island, a province of Chile.[1] It is located in the southern part of the island's west coast, in the lowlands between the extinct volcanoes of Terevaka and Rano Kau. The population of 3,304 (2002 census) comprises 87 percent of the total population of the island.

Hanga Roa
Harbour in Hanga Roa
Harbour in Hanga Roa
Easter Island, map showing Hanga Roa, Terevaka, Rano Kau, and Mataveri International Airport, as well as the main tourist attractions Orongo, Rano Raraku, Ahu Tongariki and Anakena.
Easter Island, map showing Hanga Roa, Terevaka, Rano Kau, and Mataveri International Airport, as well as the main tourist attractions Orongo, Rano Raraku, Ahu Tongariki and Anakena.
Hanga Roa is located in Pacific Ocean
Hanga Roa
Hanga Roa
Location in the Pacific Ocean
Coordinates: 27°08′00″S 109°25′00″W / 27.13333°S 109.41667°WCoordinates: 27°08′00″S 109°25′00″W / 27.13333°S 109.41667°W
Country Chile
Region Valparaíso
Province Isla de Pascua
Commune Isla de Pascua
Founded9 September 1888


Hanga Roa in the native Rapa Nui language means "wide bay" or "long bay".[2]

Upon Chile's claim of the island, the Rapanui were gathered in Hanga Roa, and the rest of the land was leased to a sheep farm.[3] For much of the twentieth century, the rest of the island was leased to the Compañía Explotadora de la Isla de Pascua (CEDIP) (a subsidiary of Williamson-Balfour Company) and closed to the Rapanui.

Some disagreements between the government of Chile and the Rapanui has led the locals with ancestral roots to "take over" many hotels in the city. For the locals, it is a way to draw the line between the Chilean government's policy-making in the island, and the Rapanui's ancestral rights on their land.[3] In 2011, the Schiess family, owner of the Hanga Roa Hotel, donated back the land of the hotel to the Rapanui, but retained a 30-year management lease of the hotel.[4] A week before, the Schiess family had personally shipped a special force squad from the Carabineros de Chile to remove the locals who squatted the hotel.[5] A prior police intervention in August 2010 had led to 25 Rapanui protesters being wounded.[6]


The island's main avenue, Avenida Atamu Tekena (formerly Avenida Policarpo Toro), is the heart of the town. Many hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and pharmacies are found alongside this road. In 1998, the road was renamed after nineteenth century Rapanui hero Atamu Te Kena; it had previously been named after Captain Policarpo Toro, the Chilean Naval officer who annexed Easter Island to Chile in 1888.[7] The island's museum, and also the Roman Catholic "Holy Cross Church", are located in the center of town. With the advent of the Internet and the expansion of communication services by the Chilean government, many internet cafes and automated teller machines (ATM) have appeared in recent years.


In 1914, the population of Hanga Roa was just 250 and the rest of the island was inhabited by large populations of sheep.

It is estimated that 90% of the island's population live in Hanga Roa.[8]



The town has a number of hotels and guesthouses which cater for tourists who come to see the island's World Heritage Sites, in particular the famous moai statues. Hanga Roa and the surrounding area have a number of impressive moai, but there are larger ones elsewhere on the island. The actual hotel capacity is about 600 beds, ranging from hostels to luxury hotels.

The Ahu Tahai archaeological complex is within a walking distance from the city's center.[8] Every year, the city is home to the farandula cultural festival, a months-long event when the locals sculpt giant wooden statues. The celebration includes an habit where people get nude and bath in clay that covers their bodies.[9][10]

Other activities

In addition to tourism, other businesses in Hanga Roa include fishing, farming and administration. Several Chilean government departments including the Chilean Navy maintain a presence on the island.

The harbour has a shipping service to Valparaíso, Chile. In April 2018, the freighter Lago Icalm parked in the port of Hanga Roa was struck by a barge. A fuel tank was ruptured, leaking diesel fuel in the waters of the port. The surrounding beaches were also blackened by the spread of the black liquid.[11]


The island's only airport, Mataveri International Airport, is served by LATAM Airlines, Chile's national carrier, which offers direct 5-hour flights from Santiago and weekly flights from Papeete. It is currently the only commercial carrier that regularly serves the island.[8]


Hanga Roa has a multi-use stadium, the Estadio de Hanga Roa, which is the home ground of the CF Rapa Nui, the football team representing the Easter Island.

Access to food

The regular consumers brands sold in grocery stores are expensive due to the costly trip required to import those products. Locals informally sell fish, meat and vegetables. The tuna empanada is the city's favorite snack.[8]


Hangaroa Moais

Several Hanga Roa moai, including Ko Te Riku (with a pukao on its head). In the mid-ground is a side view of an ahu with five moai. The Mataveri end of Hanga Roa is visible in the background with Rano Kau rising above it.


The Roman Catholic Holy Cross Church

Velikonoční ostrov - Plaza de Hanga Roa - panoramio

The "Plaza de Hanga Roa"

See also


  1. ^ Hanga Roa on mapcarta.com
  2. ^ Hanga Roa, Imagina
  3. ^ a b Annie Murphy, For Chile, Colossal Trouble On Easter Island, Npr.org, 9 September 2010 (accessed on 31 May 2019)
  4. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Spanish) Héctor Aravena, Familia Schiess decide donar terrenos de Hotel Hanga Roa a Isla de Pascua, Emol.com, 18 February 2011 (accessed on 31 May 2019)
  5. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Spanish) Desalojan a pascuenses de hotel Hanga Roa, Elmostrador.cl, 6 February 2011 (accessed on 31 May 2019)
  6. ^ Easter Islanders' battle for their ancestral land ends in bloodshed, France24.com, 12 August 2010 (accessed on 31 May 2019)
  7. ^ Steven R. Fischer: The island at the end of the world. Reaktion Books, 2005, page 248. ISBN 1-86189-282-9
  8. ^ a b c d Samai Haider, Hanga Roa - Launching Pad for Visiting the Moai, Thedailystar.net, 17 August 2018 (accessed on 31 May 2019)
  9. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in French) Mike Leyral, Farandula: le carnaval de l'Île de Pâques ou l'exubérance des corps, Lepoint.fr, 19 February 2015 (accessed on 31 May 2019)
  10. ^ GALLERY: Easter Island's Carnival magic seduces locals, tourists, Enca.com, 21 February 2015 (accessed on 31 May 2019)
  11. ^ Photos: Fuel Spill at Easter Island's Main Harbor, Maritime-executive.com, 26 April 2018 (accessed on 31 May 2019)

External links


Aku-Aku: the Secret of Easter Island is a 1957 book by Thor Heyerdahl published in English the following year. The book describes the 1955–1956 Norwegian Archaeological Expedition's investigations of Polynesian history and culture at Easter Island, the Austral Islands of Rapa Iti and Raivavae, and the Marquesas Islands of Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa. Visits to Pitcairn Island, Mangareva and Tahiti are described as well. By far the greatest part of the book tells of the work on Easter Island, where the expedition investigated the giant stone statues (moai), the quarries at Rano Raraku and Puna Pau, the ceremonial village of Orongo on Rano Kau, as well as many other sites throughout the island. Much of the book's interest derives from the interaction of the expedition staff, from their base at Anakena beach, with the Easter Islanders themselves, who lived mainly in the village of Hanga Roa.

The book and a follow-up film of the same name made a major contribution to general public awareness of both the island and the statues.


Angata, full name María Angata Veri Tahi ʻa Pengo Hare Koho (c. 1853 – December 1914) was a Roman Catholic Rapa Nui religious leader from Easter Island during the late 19th and early 20th century. After experiencing a prophetic vision in which God instructed her to retake the land and livestock, she led an unsuccessful rebellion on the island against the Williamson-Balfour Company, intending to create a theocracy centered on Roman Catholicism and Rapa Nui spiritual values.

CF Rapa Nui

CF Rapa Nui is an association football team from Chile which represents the territory of Easter Island in association football. Their home games are played at the Estadio de Hanga Roa, which has a capacity of approximately 2,500 people.

Eugène Eyraud

Eugène Eyraud (1820 – 23 August 1868) was a lay friar of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the first Westerner to live on Easter Island.

Father Sebastian Englert Anthropological Museum

The Father Sebastian Englert Anthropological Museum is a museum in the town of Hanga Roa on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in Chilean Polynesia. Named for the Bavarian missionary, Fr. Sebastian Englert, OFM Cap., the museum was founded in 1973 and is dedicated to the conservation of the Rapa Nui cultural patrimony. The museum is administered by the Chilean Directorate of Libraries, Archives and Museums (DiBAM) and houses the William Mulloy Library.The museum houses the only female mo‘ai, as well as one of the coral eyes that were placed in the mo‘ai. There are wood statuettes, a photographic collection, archives of traditional music, and a three-thousand-volume library.

Hanga Roa Stadium

The Hanga Roa Stadium (Spanish: Estadio de Hanga Roa) is a football stadium in Hanga Roa, the capital Easter Island a territory of Chile. It is the home ground of the Seleccion Rapa Nui, the Easter Island football team. The stadium holds about 1000 people.

Holy Cross Church, Hanga Roa

The Holy Cross Church (Spanish: Iglesia de la Santa Cruz), also known as Hanga Roa Church or simply Catholic Church of Hanga Roa is the name of the religious building affiliated with the Catholic Church in the "Te Pito Te Henua" Street in the city of Hanga Roa, the capital and greater city of the Easter Island, a Territory of Chile in the Pacific Ocean.

The temple that follows the Roman or Latin rite was established in 1937 being its first priest Father Sebástian Englert. The building stands out for its external decoration and the gardens that surround it. Mainly remarkable is its facade that mixes Christian religious motifs and native elements.

It offers masses in Spanish and you can hear songs in the Rapa Nui language. In the inner part there are images carved locally that represent Christian saints, Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.

The religious services are attended by both Catholic faithful and tourists attracted by the architecture of the site.

Hotel Hanga Roa

Hotel Hanga Roa is a hotel in Hanga Roa, Isla de Pascua, Easter Island, overlooking the bay on the Avenue Pont. The hotel was used extensively in a Hollywood film in 1993.

In 1994, the hotel was purchased by the Panamericana hotel firm who extended the property with 10 new sizeable fake thatched roofed bungalows, nine of which have three rooms. The 60 other rooms are located in the main building. The hotel closed in 2011 for refurbishment and when reopened will include a new museum and theatre, shopping complex, pool, tennis courts and other rooms. The hotel staff are mainly Rapanui locals, but the management are not from Easter Island.

Iorana Hotel

Iorana Hotel is a hotel in Ana Magaro, near Hanga Roa, Isla de Pascua, Easter Island. Frommer's says of it, "It hasn't been touched since they opened over 2 decades ago. The rooms need a serious makeover—the property looks like it severely lacking, service tends to be mediocre, and the property is a long way from the town, but the view from Iorana is spectacular enough to make up for these faults."

The view of the sunset from the hotel restaurant has been noted.

Juan Edmunds Rapahango

Juan Edmunds Rapahango (1923 – August 20, 2012) was a Rapa Nui politician, the former Mayor of Hanga Roa, the municipality of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), in Chilean Polynesia. He is the son of Henry Percy Edmunds, director of the Williamson-Balfour Company, and Victoria Rapahango, an important native respondent for early ethnologists visiting the island. He is the father of the former mayor Pedro Pablo Edmunds Paoa. As mayor, Edmunds Rapahango promoted tourism to the island and helped to develop the island's infrastructure. He collaborated closely with William Mulloy and supported the American archaeologist's restoration projects. Edmunds Rapahango saw that Rapa Nui archaeology would play an important role the future of the island's economy.

List of lighthouses in Easter Island

This is a list of lighthouses in Easter Island.

Mana Expedition to Easter Island

The Mana Expedition to Easter Island (Polynesian: mana means "good luck") occurred between March 1913 and August 1915. It was the first archaeological expedition to Rapa Nui which was privately organized and funded, preceding the Norwegian Archaeological Expedition to Easter Island of Thor Heyerdahl by more than 40 years. The Mana Expedition was led by Katherine and William Scoresby Routledge. The expedition and its ship, the Mana, bore the same name. The ship left Falmouth, England on March 13, 1913 with a crew of twelve, including a surveyor, geologist, sailing master, navigator, engineer, cook, seamen, a cabin boy and the Routledges. They arrived on the southern coast of the island at Hanga Roa Bay, by way of the Strait of Magellan, on March 29, 1914, setting up their first camp at Mataveri, on the island's southwest corner. The English archaeologist O. G. S. Crawford referred to the expedition as "an archaeological fiasco".

Mataveri International Airport

Mataveri International Airport or Isla de Pascua Airport (IATA: IPC, ICAO: SCIP) is located at Hanga Roa on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) (Isla de Pascua in Spanish). The most remote airport in the world, Mataveri International Airport is 2,336 miles (3,759 km) from Santiago, Chile (SCL) which has scheduled flights to it on the Chilean carrier LATAM Chile. The runway starts just inland from the island's southeast coast at Mataveri and nearly reaches the west coast, almost separating the mountain of Rano Kau from the rest of the island. The airport is the main point of entry for thousands of tourists who come to Easter Island to see its Moai statues. The airport also has a transit lounge used by passengers who are continuing onwards to or returning from Papeete, Tahiti, which is also serviced by LATAM Airlines.

Motu Nui

Motu Nui (large island in the Rapa Nui language) is the largest of three islets just south of Easter Island and is the most westerly place in Chile and all of South America. All three islets have seabirds but Motu Nui was also an essential location for the Tangata manu ("Bird Man") cult which was the island religion between the moai era and the Christian era (the people of the island were converted to Roman Catholicism in the 1860s). Motu Nui is the summit of a large volcanic mountain which rises over 2,000 meters from the sea bed. It measures 3.9 hectares in land area and is the largest of the five satellite islets of Easter island.

The ritual of the "Bird Man" cult was a competition to collect the first egg of the manutara. This took place starting from Motu Nui where the Hopu (representatives from each clan) waited for the sooty terns to lay their first eggs of the season. The Hopu who seized the first egg raced to swim back to Easter Island, climbed the cliffs to Orongo and presented the egg to their sponsor in front of the judges at Orongo. This gave their sponsor the title of Tangata manu and great power on the island for a year. Many Hopu were killed by sharks or by falling. The winning clan gained certain rights including the collecting of eggs and young birds from the islets.

Motu means "island" in Rapa Nui language, and there are two smaller motus located nearby: Motu Kao Kao (a sea stack, rising around 20 meters (65 feet) above sea level) and Motu Iti (near Motu Nui).

Motu Nui was scientifically surveyed by the Routledge expedition of 1914, which reported that six other varieties of seabirds nested there in addition to the sooty tern. They explored two caves on Motu Nui, in one of which the Hopu used to stay while waiting for the first egg of the season, and the other used to contain Titahanga-o-te-henua "The Boundary of the Land", a small moai that had already been taken to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England.

Although the Tangata Manu cult's rituals have long since been discontinued (the last competition known to have taken place in 1888), current visitors to Rapa Nui often enjoy the beauty of the Motus via small boat excursions from Hanga Roa, the island's only town. The diving in the sea between Motu Nui and Kau Kau is exceptional, and is a highly sought-after scuba diving location for dive enthusiasts from around the world. Once heavily populated with sharks, the coastal waters of Rapa Nui are now much safer, due in large part to overfishing.

Pedro Edmunds Paoa

Pedro Pablo Petero Edmunds Paoa (born 1 July 1961) is a Chilean politician. He serves as mayor of Easter Island Commune.

He was previously the Governor of the Easter Island Province from March 2010 to August 2010.

His first term as mayor of Easter Island was between 1994 and 2008, and he was member of the Christian Democratic Party. Currently he is member of the Progressive Party.

He is a supporter of the island autonomy from Valparaíso region, saying this would allow islanders to handle the problems locally rather than rely on an official "more than 4000 kilometers and you do not know the island".His appointment as Easter Island governor sparked protests from indigenous Polynesians on the island, who feared he planned land deals. In response the "Rapa Nui Parliament", a group of indigenous Polynesians, occupied government buildings, demanded Paoa's resignation and wrote to the Pacific Islands Forum saying they wanted to secede from Chile. Edmunds resigned from office in early August 2010. He was temporarily replaced by Jorge Miranda, a lawyer, as interim governor following his resignation. Edmunds' permanent successor, Carmen Cardinali, was appointed Governor in September 2010.In 2015, being the mayor of Easter Island at the time, Paoa once again ran into problems with the Rapa Nui Parliament when they took control over the island and its archaeology. The situation still hasn't been solved.

Puna Pau

Puna Pau is a quarry in a small crater or cinder cone on the outskirts of Hanga Roa in the south west of Easter Island (a Chilean island in the Pacific Ocean). Puna Pau also gives its name to one of the seven regions of the Rapa Nui National Park.

Puna Pau was the sole source of the red scoria that the Rapa Nui people used to carve the pukao (topknots) that they put on the heads of some of their iconic moai statues.

The stone from Puna Pau was also used for a few non-standard moai including Tukuturi and also for some petroglyphs.

Rapa Nui people

The Rapa Nui are the aboriginal Polynesian inhabitants of Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean. The easternmost Polynesian culture, the descendants of the original people of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) make up about 60% of the current Rapa Nui population and have a significant portion of their population residing in mainland Chile. They speak both the traditional Rapa Nui language and the primary language of Chile, Spanish. At the 2002 census there were 3,304 island inhabitants—almost all living in the village of Hanga Roa on the sheltered west coast.

As of 2011, Rapa Nui's main source of income derived from tourism, which focuses on the giant sculptures called moai.

Rapa Nui activists have been fighting for their right of self-determination and possession of the island. Protests in 2010 and 2011 by the indigenous Rapa Nui on Easter Island objecting the creation of a marine park and reserve, have led to clashes with Chilean police.

Riro Kāinga

Siméon or Timeone Riro ʻa Kāinga Rokoroko He Tau (died 1898 or 1899) was the last ‘ariki (king) of Rapa Nui from 1892 until his death. He ruled the island during a brief period of indigenous autonomy between Chile's initial annexation in 1888 and the country's reassertion of colonial authority in 1896. Kāinga died unexpectedly during a diplomatic trip to Chile to discuss the island's sovereignty with colonial authorities, leading to suspicions that he had been poisoned.

Williamson-Balfour Company

The Williamson-Balfour Company (or Williamson, Balfour and Company) was a Scottish owned Chilean company. Its successor company, Williamson Balfour Motors S.A., is a subsidiary of the British company Inchcape plc.

The company was founded in Valparaiso in 1863 as a subsidiary of the Liverpool shipping company Balfour Williamson (founded by the Scots Alexander Balfour and Stephen Williamson). The company was involved in the export of nitrates and wool to England, and later the west coast of the United States. The company diversified into railways, oil, minerals and other activities.

When the Chilean government annexed Easter Island in 1888, it was leased to Enrique Merlet, who sold his control to the Williamson-Balfour Company; they in turn created a subsidiary called Compañía Explotadora de la Isla de Pascua (CEDIP), which ran Easter Island as a sheep farm. The company constructed a boundary wall around Hanga Roa and sheep rearing structures. During the company's rule and for several years after, the Rapa Nui people were confined to Hanga Roa, which they were not allowed to leave without permission.

In 1953, the Chilean government refused to renew their lease and transferred the island to the Chilean Navy and the sheep farming operations ceased. In 1966, the Rapa Nui of Easter Island gained full Chilean citizenship.

On the Chilean mainland the company operated a number of flour mills, and was involved in the import of machinery and other activities. In 1965 the company sold its milling operations, and was itself acquired by the Bank of London and South America (BOLSA). In 1972 BOLSA was acquired by Lloyds Bank, which in 1981 sold the Williamson-Balfour companies to Inchcape plc. In the late 1990s Inchcape decided to concentrate on the distribution of motors, and the non-motor businesses, including Williamson Balfour Agrocomercial Ltda, were sold to Sigdo Koppers in 2000. Williamson Balfour Motors S.A. is still owned by Inchcape, and is now the importer and distributor of BMW and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Chile.

Capitals of Oceania


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