For 150 years, the British Museum has housed one of the iconic, heavy-browed stone figures that Chile’s Easter Island is famous for. Now the island is hoping to get it back.
They plan to build a copy of the 4 tonne monolith and, potentially, swap it for the real thing.
The statue, known as a moai and named the Hoa Hakananai’a, is one of hundreds originally found on the island. Carved by Polynesian colonizers somewhere between the 13th and 16th centuries, each of the big-headed figures was considered to represent tribal leaders or deified ancestors.
About a dozen have been removed from the island over the years. Now Camilo Rapu, president of the island’s Ma’u Henua community, said it is time Hoa Hakananai’a was returned.
The Ma’u Henua community, with support from the Chilean government, in August launched a campaign to persuade the British Museum and Queen Elizabeth II to return the moai in exchange for an exact replica to be carved on Easter Island.
“Our expert carvers will make a copy in basalt, the original stone used in the Hakananai’a moai, as an offering to Queen Elizabeth in exchange for the original,” Rapu told reporters in Santiago.
The Ma’u Henua has signed an agreement with the Bishop Museum — Hawaii’s largest museum, which has a huge collection of Polynesian artifacts — to produce a polycarbonate copy of the Hakananai’a, to be ready by Nov. 3.
The actual carving of the statue is to take place on Easter Island, using the 1,000-year-old techniques of the Rapa Nui people combined with some modern technology to allow the job to be completed in seven months.
On Nov. 23, a committee of Easter Islanders and Chilean officials plans to travel to London in hopes of negotiating its return.
“This is a historic demand of the Rapa Nui people,” Rapu said, referring to Easter Island’s Aboriginal settlers.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big