Moai are monolithic sculptures carved by the Rapa Nui people indigenous to an island of the same name (also known as Easter Island). The 3.2-ton moai, gifted by Chile in 2004, symbolizes the friendship between Chile and New Zealand. It also celebrates the connection between the Rapa Nui and New Zealand’s Maori.
Located on the south Wellington coast, in Lyall Bay, this moai stands alone, gazing out to sea. The moai primarily serve as living faces representing deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna).
New Zealand shares one of its enduring and closest friendships in Latin America with Chile. The two countries established embassies in 1972, and during Chile’s bicentennial in 2009, New Zealand presented Plaza Nueva Zelandia in Santiago as a symbolic gesture, underlining the significance of this strong relationship.