LONDON – A delegation of representatives from Easter Island will arrive next month in London to start talks with the British Museum. The museum has one of the most important and iconic Moai statues in their possession. The aim of the talks is bringing back the statue to the island where it belongs.
To the people from Rapa Nui, the moai are sacred and belong nowhere else but on the island. A delegation, led by decision makers from the island, will arrive the 15th of November in London to start talks with the British Museum. They want one of their moai back, that for centuries has been exhibited in the British Museum. The statue the delegation wants to return to their island is unique, as it is not made out of volcanic ash, but basalt. It is called Hoa Hakananai’a, meaning “stolen friend” in Rapa Nui.
The Hoa Hakananai’a was stolen in 1868 from Easter Island and brought to the United Kingdom as a gift for British queen Victoria. The queen gave the statue to the British Museum, so the public could admire the iconic statues. But as for Europeans in the 19th century, bringing exotic objects from countries far away back to their home country was as much for prestige as it was for science, for countries or islands such as Easter Island, these objects represent much more.
Filip Ward, Chilean minister of National Assets, told CNN Chile: “this is probably the most important moai that is currently being kept away from its people. It is of crucial importance that we respect the indigenous people in this world, and their claims on their heritage. We want to show the British people that the best museum for moais is outside, at Easter Island.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.