The Bay of the Kings

Anakena, also called Hanga Ra´u o te Ariki (Bay of the Great Kings), is the place where the two great canoes of the mythical King Hotu Matua and his sister Ava Rei Pua, together with their followers, are supposed to have arrived.  In the head of the bay on both sides, there are three terraces resembling temples built with enormous blocks.  

In the center of the beach area is the magnificent Ahu Nau Nau, about 70 meters (230 feet) long, which has between 10 and 12 Moai (statues) associated with it. The ends of the platform are slightly elevated so that it looks like a ship. It was restored by Sergio Rapu between 1978 and 1980.  Its present five Moai are the best preserved of all those still on the Island due to having spent a long time buried in the sand. They represent deceased young men of royal lineage. During the excavations, several pavements of older Ahu (ceremonial platforms) were uncovered, as well as remains of  residences, an extraordinary eye from a statue made of white coral with a pupil of red scoria, and the body of a rare female Moai. Both the eye and the female Moai are on exhibit at the P. S. Englert Anthropological Museum.

On the eastern side of the bay, there is another platform with a single statue, Ahu Ature Huki, which was re-erected in 1956 by a group of islanders under the direction of the then village mayor, Pedro Atán, at the request of the explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who was holding his first excavations on the Island. This statue is of rather crude construction and wider set than those on Ahu Nau Nau and is supposed to be on the site of where the mythical king lived.  

Ahu Ature Huke

On the extreme left side of the beach is a third platform, Ahu Niho Pou, without statues and almost covered by the sand. On one of the stone blocks of the façade is a reproduction of a symbol of the Rongo Rongo (talking tablets) script, which, according to tradition, was associated with Anakena.