One of the most outstanding features of rapanui culture is traditional crafts. Any tourist will be happy to take home a reproduction of a moai, a necklace of shells or a feather headdress, as a souvenir of their visit to the island. Much of these objects can be found in the Agricultural and Craft Fair and in some shops located in Atamu Tekena, the main street of Hanga Roa, or in Te Pito or Te Henua, the second most important street that flows into the cove Hanga Roa Otai.
However the place that offers the greatest variety and quality of handicrafts is the Craft Market. Located a few steps from the Holy Cross Church, it was built in the 70’s of the last century with funds raised during the Tapati Festival. Here the local artisans meet to offer their products, operating as a center for buying and selling the products produced by the islanders.
The craft stalls that are aligned one after another are distributed in three rooms that surround a small inner courtyard. Having no independent structures, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish which salesman belongs to each one, so it is best to ask. When they are “closed”, they are covered by a simple fabric that acts as a blind.
Moai or Easter Island statues for sale
Most of the highest quality handicraft products are locally sourced. This is the case of the wonderful reproductions of Easter Island carvings in wood or stone representing classic figures of rapanui tradition such as moai or Easter Island statues, tangata manu, moai kava-kava, rei miro, etc. The higher the material quality and fineness of the finish the higher the price. It is not uncommon to find figures made of quoted makoi wood that cost several hundred or thousands of dollars, which can only be accessed by certain collectors or museums.
For those who do not want to invest so much money, there are other options more simple and economic. From little hairstyles with tipanie flowers, shell necklaces and sarongs to the women’s delight to Polynesian shirts, stone figures or moai-shaped keyrings, perfect souvenirs for male visitors.
How to get to the Crafts Market
The Crafts Market is located in front of the church of Holy Cross (Santa Cruz) that is at the end of the Te Pito o Te Henua street. For those who do not want to walk, a taxi will leave them in a couple of minutes from the center of Hanga Roa.