Petition Demands Return of Native Sculpture

LONDON.- The British Museum is again the focus of an international campaign calling for the return of a sacred object.

Chilean filmmakers have launched a campaign for the world’s second most popular museum to return a mystical Easter Island sculpture on display for the last 100 years.

Hoa Haka Nana'ia AKA "hidden or stolen friend" in the regions' native language was removed by explorers from the remote Chilean island in the Pacific in the 19th century.

The museum's moai, as the famous Easter Island Statues are known locally, dates from the 13th century. It stands 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) high and weighs around four tonnes. It is believed by locals to be inhabited by a "mana," or spirit, that protected local tribes.

A new documentary about the statues says that "one way to recover the mana to restore wellbeing to the island is to bring the spirit of the Moai Hoa Kaka Nana'ia back to its native land."

Paula Rossetti said that she and director Leo Pakarati have gathered more than 500 signatures for a petition urging the Chilean government to make a formal demand for the moai's return.

Hoa Haka Nana'ia is one of the 4,000 objects that campaigners have pinpointed as stolen from Easter Island and displayed in collections around the world.

For centuries, museums from all over the world have worked very hard to acquire interesting artifacts from other cultures -- this serving as an important venue of local awareness and education.

In 2015 The British Museum released a document setting out their position on the Elgin Marbles otherwise known as the Parthenon Sculptures. The British Museum tells the story of cultural achievement throughout the world, from the dawn of human history over two million years ago, until the present day. The Parthenon Sculptures are a significant part of that story.

The Elgin Marbles, also known as the Parthenon Marbles, which were scrubbed clean, whitened and preserved by the British Museum have created long standing international controversy. The question of whether or not the surviving sculptures from the Parthenon should now be given back to Greece, has been the subject of public discussion for decades. The complex history of the sculptures has created worldwide debate.

In a recent YouGov poll, it is thought that only 25% of the British public support the Elgin Marbles remaining in the UK. Half of the respondents to the survey published in the Times said the sculptures should be returned to Greece, with a 1/4 undecided.