Van Tilburg (1998) eloquently expressed our current understanding of the moai as "an icon exemplifying the fundamental Polynesian concern with genealogy, generation, status and respect. It served as a cultural motivator and modifier of group behavior." This covers the functions comprehensively-but fails to tell us how the moai accomplished all of these things.
Rapa Nui Journal: Journal of the Easter Island Foundation: Vol. 13
, Article 3.
Available at: https://kahualike.manoa.hawaii.edu/rnj/vol13/iss4/3