17 Aug 2018

Chile seeks to repatriate Rapa Nui statue from London

7:08 pm on 17 August 2018

Chile's government is trying to recover a 1,000-year-old statue in the British Museum that was taken from Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, in 1868.

The New York Times reports that Chile announced it was forming a committee to attempt to repatriate the statue, named Hoa Hakananai'a.

Standing almost 8-feet high, the statue, or moai, was removed from Rapa Nui a hundred and fifty years ago by the crew of the British ship, HMS Topaz.

The British reportedly bartered for Hoa Hakananai'a which has unique carvings on its back unlike the vast majority of Rapa Nui's famous moai.

A spokeswoman from the British Museum said there was great value in having the statue in London alongside other important cultural objects for exhibition to a large global audience.

The Museum has generally resisted attempts by other countries to have it return their cultural items.

Greece had waged a decades-long campaign for the repatriation of pieces from the Parthenon in Athens known as the 'Elgin marbles', so far without success.