13 Nov 2018

Rapa Nui to negotiate return of statue in London this week

1:26 pm on 13 November 2018

Government officials from Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, and Chile will this week meet with the British Museum in London to negotiate the return of a 1,000-year-old statue.

Hoa Hakananai'a

Hoa Hakananai'a Photo: WikiCommons

Last month, Chile formed a committee to repatriate the statue, or moai, named Hoa Hakananai'a, which was stolen onboard an English ship in 1869.

On Thursday, a delegation headed by Rapa Nui Council of Elders President, Carlos Edmunds Paoa, and Chile's National Assets Minister, Felipe Ward, will travel to London.

They are expected to negotiate with the museum's directors a trade of a replica moai in exchange for the return of Hoa Hakananai'a.

However, La Vanguardia reports Rapa Nui Mayor Pedro Edmunds Paoa, wants the statue to stay in exchange for a payment, which would go towards maintaining Rapa Nui's heritage.

Mr Ward says the repatriation is what most people in Rapa Nui want.

Talks with Norway museum

Rapa Nui is also negotiating the return of part of a collection of artefacts from the Kon Tiki Museum in Norway.

Talks with the museum began in October, and Rapa Nui's Provincial Governor, Tarita Alarcón Rapu, will meet with the museum's director, Martin Biehl on Tuesday, Chile's Foreign Ministry said.

Earlier this month Chile's Foreign Minister, Roberto Ampuero, said Norway's government was supporting the effort.

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