CNN  — 

A delegation from Easter Island is preparing to visit London to ask for the return of a huge statue from the British Museum.

The 2.5-meter basalt figure has been part of the museum’s collection since 1869 – but now the islanders want it back.

Easter Island, known as Rapa Nui in the local language and governed by Chile, is famous for the moai statues that dot its landscape.

A delegation including Carlos Edmunds, president of the council of Rapa Nui elders, and Felipe Ward, Chile’s minister for national property, will travel to London to underline the significance of the moai and discuss its future. The group will arrive in the UK capital next week, the Guardian reported.

Hoa Hakananai'a is one of almost 900 moai carved by islanders between 1100 and 1600 AD.

Islanders carved the statues to commemorate their ancestors and believe that the moai are an incarnation of dead relatives. According to the British Museum, around 887 moai were erected between 1100 and 1600 A.D.

Hoa Hakananai’a – which is Rapa Nui for “lost or stolen friend