My tour guide, Matti, picks me up from the hotel at around 10am and we set off for Puna Pau… the quarry for the “pukao” also known as the “red hats”


It’s a short trip because as you can see, it is a short distance from Hanga Roa.

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We make our way up a short trail. You can see some of the pukao on the left.

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Pukaos scattered along the hill side. I would imagine these would be easier to transport around the island. They were probably just rolled around like big wheels.

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The ancient Rapa Nui people were quite artistic in a sense. Not only do they carve out these massive statues… they design to add a little décor by carving out… at a separate location… these red hats to adorn the statues.

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The pukao or topknots are not really “hats.” but rather, they are the hair of the statues. It’s like a woman’s ponytail or bun with hair pulled up and tied at the head.

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Just like how the moai were transported and erected, a big mystery exists over how they pukao were placed on top of the moai. Archeologists have theories. But nothing is really certain.

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The crater from which the red rock was harvested.

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Pukao along the hillside.

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From here, one of my more favorite ahus… Ahu Akivi.