Los Muto’i

Los Muto’i

Los Muto’i

Caring for our heritage

Ma´u Henua is an indigenous community that has nearly 2100 members. One of its major achievements is having created around 300 jobs for its members who guard our heritage and attend to, protect and help the visitors in the many archaeological sites on Rapa Nui.
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=3]

Muto’ i, our park rangers

The largest group of employees of the administration at Ma´u Henua, with around 100 persons, is the muto’i or park rangers. They have the important jobs of controlling the entry tickets, guarding the sites and maintaining the security of the visitors. In addition, they offer important vigilance of Rapanui heritage during the 24 hours of the day and the 365 days of the year. It is the muto´i who attend to and give the greatest service to our visitors. They also help when tourists are in trouble and, in case of accident, are able to offer first aid, while waiting for medical attention to arrive.

Muto’ i, our night watchmen

During the night, we count with watchmen on patrol, under the leadership of their foreman Alberto Pacomio-Hotu.  The night watchmen sometimes have to deal with tourists, mostly Asians, who tend to ignore the instructions given and attempt to enter the sites at night, leaping over the stone fences, trying to bribe our employees and presenting them with situations of verbal, and sometimes even physical, aggression. The most common site for this type of activity by badly-behaved visitors is Rano Raraku. In spite of the instructions and warnings given by the muto´i at the entry, some tourists still make an attempt to touch the moai (statues), for which they will be warned and even removed from the site by the personnel.

There are some sectors with greater risk of accidents and/or disorientation, such as Roiho which has access from both Vai a Mei and Ana Te Pahu. Our visitors often decide to explore these sites alone, without understanding the importance of having a local guide who can help avoid unfortunate incidents.

Capataz / foreman Alberto Pakomio Hotu

Rondín en / in Anakena

Muto’ i, our equestrian patrol

For the most isolated sites, there is an equestrian team of muto´i, which has the  important mission of patrolling these sectors to oversee the security of a visitor who may get lost and, at the same time, take care of cleaning the rubbish that might be left behind by tourists. One of the most remote areas for patrol is Hanga Oteo.  Here, there is no mobile telephone reception, so communication has to be by radio.
The majority of the muto´i who begin to work for the Community have no previous experience and, in many cases, no knowledge of a foreign language. They are learning on the job, day by day, and making great efforts to improve themselves and offer a better service. Ma’u Henua has to offer permanent programs of professional training to overcome the educational gaps and improve the abilities of all our employees.


Recently a new visitors’ site was opened at Vaihu, where there is now a typical ancestral village reconstructed by Ma’u Henua.  It is attended by the muto’i Hella Tuki-Hucke and Timoteo Haoa-Avaka.  Timoteo recalls his 13 years working for CONAF (Chilean National Forestry Department) planting eucalyptus and cypress trees at Rano Kau and comments that, in that time, CONAF did nothing to repair the archaeological sites… ”this is where I was raised. It’s beautiful and we must protect it for the future.”

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=2]
All the muto’i, without exception, express their pleasure in working to care for their heritage and showing their culture to the visitors, but regret that most people arrive at the archaeological sites without guides to accompany them in their walk, since the muto’i cannot leave the area of their post. Rangi ‘Ua Icka, muto’i at Te Pito Kura is astounded by the names that the tourists give to the magnetic rock that can be found there… “here they arrive asking about the miraculous rock, the stone of power or the healing stone.”


For Laura Tepihe-Icka, muto’i at Rano Raraku, caring for her cultural heritage is a transcendental task… “it is our greatest pride to say that only we Rapanui are now working in the Park and that we take care of the Park as if it were our home. The visitors thank us and say that they can feel the energy – the mana – that this place transmits with us here.”

Laura Tepihi Icka, Noelia Durán y Alberto Hereveri

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1]

Featured Reports:

Interview with Kazuhisa Shibuya

Interview with Kazuhisa Shibuya

Ambassador of Japan in Chile “My primary goal is to demonstrate that the Japanese people are with you.”Mayor Pedro Edmunds Paoa and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhisa Shibuya inaugurated the Comprehensive Care Center in Rapa Nui. The center, funded by the Japanese...

The details of the next Tāpati after the Covid 19

The details of the next Tāpati after the Covid 19

Te tātou 'ōro'a he Tāpati Rapa Nui 2023Mai te toru ki te ho'e 'ahuru mā ho'e mahana o Hetu'u PūThe details of  the next Tāpati 2023 after the Covid 19By Camila Sandoval Photos by I. Municipalidad de Isla de PascuaThis celebration, which values the cultural heritage of...

Rapa Nui – The Mystery Lives

Rapa Nui – The Mystery Lives

Rapa Nui, the land of mystery and living history, where you can experience the natural and cultural wealth in one of the most beautiful and intriguing places on our planet.

About The Author

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *