May 28, 2019


Bishop Museum
Claudette Springer
Ph: (808) 848-4116

Stryker Weiner & Yokota Public Relations, Inc.
Lance Aquino
Ph: (808) 523-8802, ext. 225

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Bishop Museum to Gift Full-Size 3-D Model of Moai Hoa Hakananai‘a to Community of Rapa Nui

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –At the center of Bishop Museum’s recent original exhibition, “Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island,” stood a full-size 3-D model of the moai (statue) Hoa Hakananai‘a. While the exhibition closed in early May 2019, Bishop Museum’s engagement with the community of Rapa Nui continues. The model, which was made to be a centerpiece of the exhibit, was also intended to serve a wider purpose from its inception: to travel to Rapa Nui to inspire the community and visitors alike. The full-size 3-D fiberglass model will be gifted on May 30, 2019, to the community of Rapa Nui.

The original moai Hoa Hakananai‘a (“lost friend”), which is in the collections of the British Museum, stands nearly eight feet tall. Intricate carved petroglyphs on the back of this iconic statue include fertility symbols associated with the tangata manu (birdman) competition that took place each spring on Rapa Nui until the 1860s. The statue was removed in 1868 from the interior of a house at the site of the annual competition, the ‘Orongo Ceremonial Village. HMS Topaze transported the moai to England and later presented it as a gift to Queen Victoria. It was exhibited at the British Museum, where it remains today.

In 2012, researchers used photogrammetry to create a digital 3-D model of Hoa Hakananai‘a. With permission from The British Museum, the digital model was later used by Bishop Museum to produce the most detailed fiberglass full-scale model of Hoa Hakananai‘a ever created. According to Bishop Museum Ethnology Collections Manager Dr. Alice Christophe, “The intention in creating the full-scale model for the “Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island” exhibition was to help the public understand the significance of these megalithic statues and to honor this moai in particular. It is part of a larger initiative to celebrate Rapa Nui and its close ties to Hawai‘i as we continue to work with the Rapanui community.”

A delegation from Bishop Museum will travel to Rapa Nui to present the gift to the community of Rapa Nui in partnership with Maʻu Henua, the indigenous organization that manages the cultural resources of the island, at a formal reception on May 30, 2019. The 3-D model of Hoa Hakananai‘a will be displayed at the Toki Integrated Development Center, which includes the Toki School of Music and Arts and opened to the public in 2016. The school’s mission is to perpetuate the music, arts and cultural traditions of Rapa Nui among younger generations.

Bishop Museum would like to sincerely thank Hawaiian Airlines and LATAM Airlines for their generous support in making this project possible.


About Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum: Bishop Museum inspires our community and visitors through the exploration, celebration, and perpetuation of the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. The Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a royal descendant of King Kamehameha I. Today, the Museum thrives as an educational center for the community and is widely regarded as the world’s premier institution for Hawaiian and Pacific content. Its vast collections of more than 25 million objects and specimens represent nine disciplines and include more than 22 million biological specimens, over two million cultural objects, 115,000 historical publications, and one million photographs, films, works of art, audio recordings, and manuscripts. These collections tell the stories of the cultures and biodiversity of Hawai‘i and the Pacific as well as the proud legacy of scholarly research spanning 130 years. Bishop Museum proudly serves more than 200,000 visitors each year, including 20,000 children on school visits. To learn more about the Museum’s research, collections, exhibits, and programs, visit, follow @BishopMuseum on Twitter and Instagram, become a fan of Bishop Museum on Facebook, visit Bishop Museum’s YouTube channel at, or call (808) 847-3511. Bishop Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

About Toki School of Music and Arts: The Toki Rapa Nui is a nongovernmental foundation established in 2016 that actively promotes the Rapa Nui worldview and preserves the island’s culture. Toki created an Integrated Development Center that includes the School of Music and Arts. Its main objective is to encourage and perpetuate music, arts and cultural traditions of Rapa Nui among the younger generations. It also promotes initiatives of cultural preservation and care of the environment with a community-based approach. For more information, visit

About Maʻu Henua: The Ma‘u Henua Indigenous Polynesian Community is a unique organization that has administered the Rapa Nui National Park (RNNP) since 2017. Its priority is the conservation, preservation and management of Rapa Nui’s tangible and intangible heritage. Ma‘u Henua works together with the community and other institutions on the island. It is the first indigenous organization in Chile to completely manage its ancestral heritage. It has become one of the leading employers on the island of Rapa Nui, providing 300 jobs to the Rapanui community. For more information, visit

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Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

1525 Bernice Street

Honolulu, HI 96817

(808) 847 – 3511

© Bishop Museum 2019