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Vanuatu – Photos from the Archives

The archipelago of Vanuatu is located in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia, and surrounded by the islands of New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, and Fiji. Vanuatu is known for its superb diving and snorkelling, tropical islands, volcanoes, beaches, deep-sea fishing, dimly-lit kava bars, and friendly locals.

However, dig deeper and you will find interesting rituals such as the bizarre annual land-diving ceremony on Pentecost Island, a religious cult revering the dead US soldier John Frum, as well as another cult who follows England’s Prince Philip. The islands also have a rather dark history of cannibalism and murders of missionaries.

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Fly around the Vanuatu islands by small plane

Vanuatu’s approximately 82 small islands of volcanic origin are shaped in a Y-formation. Well over half of these islands are inhabited, some with just a couple of families living in very basic huts. Tanna Island, one of the most southern islands and a 45-minute flight south of the capital, Port Vila, is known for its religious sects, black volcanic beaches, wild horses, and active Mount Yasur volcano.

These photos from the archives date back to 1997, taken on the islands of Efate and Tanna. The first photos are from the authentic Yakel tribal village on Tanna Island, followed by photos captured at the interesting Ekasup Cultural Village close to Port Vila on Efate Island. We end off with examples of the national language, Bislama.

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Yakel tribal village on Tanna Island

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Yakel tribal village on Tanna Island

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Yakel tribal village on Tanna Island

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Yakel tribal village on Tanna Island

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Yakel tribal village on Tanna Island

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Yakel tribal village on Tanna Island

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Yakel tribal village on Tanna Island

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Yakel tribal village on Tanna Island

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Yakel tribal village on Tanna Island

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Gravestone of the three kids of missionaries Rev. J. W. and Amanda Mackenzie (from Nova Scotia, Canada) who lost three young children, Joseph aged 13 months died Christmas Day 1875, Arthur aged 19 months died 2 September 1878 and Walter aged 18 months died 12 February 1887. In 1893, a ship, the Empreza, came through the islands bringing a deadly viral dysentery which had devastating effects on the local populations. Mrs. Amanda Mackenzie, became ill and died on the 30th of April, 1893. J. W. and four of his children survived these difficult years of illness. He remained in Vanuatu and married a second time. J. W. Mackenzie was a missionary in Vanuatu from 1872 to 1912 and died after retiring to Australia in 1914. (Source: Vision for Vanuatu).

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Mount Yasur volcano on Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Tanna Beach Resort, Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Tanna Beach Resort, Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Ekasup Cultural Village near Port Vila on Efate Island, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Ekasup Cultural Village near Port Vila on Efate Island, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Ekasup Cultural Village near Port Vila on Efate Island, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Ekasup Cultural Village near Port Vila on Efate Island, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Ekasup Cultural Village near Port Vila on Efate Island, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

Ekasup Cultural Village near Port Vila on Efate Island, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Island South Pacific

A fresh kill on Efate Island, Vanuatu


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 This article appears in the July 2017 issue of Globerovers Magazine.
Globerovers Magazine