22 Aug 2013

Vanuatu state to buy Eretoka for conservation site

3:54 pm on 22 August 2013

Vanuatu chiefs of Lelepa Island have welcomed a decision by the lands minister, Ralph Regenvanu, to buy Eretoka, or Hat Island, and to maintain it as a Cultural Heritage Conservation Area.

The island if off Efate.

Earlier the chiefs had spoken out against any commercial development on the island, saying Eretoka symbolises respect for the grave site of the ancient chief who created a tribal system to end tribal wars.

But now the chiefs' spokesman, Kalkot Mormor, says they fully support what the government intends to do with the island as it holds the sacred Chief Roimata Domain which is now a World Heritage Site.

In a notice sent by a Lands Acquiring Officer, land claimants who object to the government buying the land should send in their reasons within 30 days.