23 Oct 2018

Rapa Nui propose carving replica of moai to swap with British Museum

5:30 am on 23 October 2018

People of Rapa Nui, or Easter Islanders, have proposed creating a copy of a moai to swap with an original they are seeking to have repatriated.

The eight-foot high statue, the Hoa Hakananai'a, is one of hundreds carved by Polynesian settlers on Rapa Nui between the 13th and 16th centuries.

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Photo: World News Daily

It is currently exhibited in the British Museum in London after being taken from the island by British sailors 150 years ago.

AFP reports that Rapa Nui's Ma'u Henua community has proposed carving an exact replica in basalt, the original stone used in the Hakananai'a moai.

It would be offered to Queen Elizabeth in exchange for the original.

The carving is to take place on Rapa Nui, using thousand-year-old techniques combined with modern technology to allow the job to be completed in seven months.

A committee of islanders and Chilean government officials plans to travel to London next month in hope of negotiating the moai's return.

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