9 Jul 2008

Vanuatu's Roi Mata domain gets Unesco world heritage status

2:19 pm on 9 July 2008

Unesco has granted Vanuatu's Roi Mata Domain World Heritage status.

It is the first such site in Vanuatu and one of three new World Heritage sites named in the Pacific at the Unesco committee's meeting in Quebec.

The others are the reefs around New Caledonia's main island and the Kuk site of early agricultural development in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands.

The Roi Mata Domain is comprised of three areas connected with the life of Roi Mata, a seventeenth century chief of the people in the areas, which include a settlement on Efate Island and two islands close by.

The site is considered culturally significant because Roi Mata's descendants still living in the area do so in the same manner he did, foregoing modern conveniences such as electricity.