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25 April 2008

A special ceremony to mark the donation of a Tadano crane was held on 8 April at Ahu Tongariki in Easter Island, Chile.

Ahu Tongariki, also known as Rapa Nui, was the site of the largest of the famous Moai stone statues but was subjected to enormous damage in 1960 when a massive tidal wave generated by an earthquake off the coast of Chile toppled and scattered the statues.

Fifteen of the Moai statues were re-erected in the 1990s using a rough terrain crane that was donated by Tadano. Now a second crane, a 60 tonne capacity TR-600XL rough terrain has been donated for further restoration work.

The handover ceremony was attended by more than 30 people, including the 5th State Governor of Chile, Ivande La Maza, the island's Governor, Carolina Hotus Hey, the Chilean Ambassador to Japan, Daniel Carvallo and the Councilor of the Japanese Embassy in Santiago, Mr Imai, in addition to senior Tadano staff members led by president Koichi Tadano.

The ceremony began with the national flags of both countries being raised, singing of the Rapa Nui song and rites of purification by a priest. This was followed by the official presentation. Koichi Tadano handed a crane key and a commemorative plate showing Moai statue carvings to the Governor and received a souvenir from the Ruin Preservation Council of Chile. The event was completed by a banquet and a display of traditional Rapa Nui dancing.

The arrival of the crane was enthusiastically greeted by local inhabitants, who cheered “Hurrah, hurrah, Tadano”.

The donated crane will work on the second phase of the Moai restoration project, including an altar called Te Pito Kura.

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