The New Zealand aid agency, NZAID, is planning to work closely with traditional leaders in Vanuatu as part of its corrections project.
The project will involve the creation of a stand alone corrections service and will eventually see a new prison built in Port Vila to replace the two dilapidated institutions still in use.
The New Zealand High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Paul Willis, says improving governance is a core aim of NZAID and the corrections package is multi-faceted.
"Within that is an indigenous probation programme that will be a very unique blend of using traditional forms of leadership with a Western probation system and that legislation has just gone through parliament. We have five technical advisors working with local people, including traditional chiefs, about how you make that work. And that is a unique bit of development work in governance."
Paul Willis says New Zealand wants to work with customary leaders at all levels, rural and urban, on development, peace and security issues.