Chief Roi Mata's Domain - World Heritage Site
PO Box 184
Port Vila, SHEFA
In July 2008, Chief Roi Mata’s Domain was formally registered as a World Heritage site – the first in Vanuatu! Just half an hour’s drive north of Port Vila and featuring a string of perfect beaches, a breathtaking harbour, spectacular views of the hat-shaped island of Artok, and so much more!
Who was Chief Roi Mata?
Chief Roi Mata lived 400 years ago in the northwest Efate village of Mangaas. His reputation extended throughout the Central Islands of Vanuatu, far beyond his own domain.
He is remembered today as a great leader who settled a long period of warfare, setting up a tradition of peace feasts and new social structures linked by women.
Chief Roi Mata drew his last breath in the colossal Fels Cave on Lelepa Island. His chiefly power was considered so great that the entire island of Artok (or ‘Hat Island’) was abandoned to make way for a mass burial.
More than 50 members of Chief Roi Mata’s family and court sacrificed themselves to accompany him into the afterlife. Artok was then declared tapu, or forbidden territory, a sanction that has been respected for four centuries.
Roi Mata Cultural Tours
Chief Roi Mata’s Domain – the area of northwest Efate and the islands of Lelepa and Artok that represented the Chief’s immediate area of influence – was an obvious first choice for Vanuatu’s nomination for World Heritage inscription.
It is hoped that the inscription will assist the people of Lelepa and Mangaliliu villages to continue to preserve the sites of Mangaas, Fels Cave and Artok Island, with the support of Vanuatu’s National Museum and Cultural Centre.
The World Heritage and Tourism Committee, a joint initiative between the people of Lelepa and Mangaliliu, has been appointed to oversee the ongoing management and protection of Chief Roi Mata’s Domain.
Community-based cultural tourism (‘Roi Mata Cultural Tours’) is one way in which the committee generates revenue in order to assist with the overall preservation of the site, while also provide an income for the villagers who reside within the site’s outer boundary.
The ‘Roi Mata Cultural Tour’ begins with a short visit to the Vanuatu National Museum and Cultural Centre in the capital, Port Vila, where a ‘Roi Mata’ feature display leaves you craving for more!
From here you are whipped away to the Northwest of Efate to be left spellbound by the World Heritage property of Chief Roi Mata’s Domain.
Tours cater to your needs - so whether you’re treating yourself to a short weekend escape to this tropical paradise, or planning on really discovering the heart of this truly captivating country, please, let ‘Roi Mata Cultural Tours’ take you on an exclusive journey into Chief Roi Mata’s Domain.
The welcoming people of the Lelepa region, represented by the World Heritage and Tourism Committee, are highly dedicated and committed to protecting this World Heritage site, and ensuring that the legend of ‘Chief Roi Mata’ continues to instill an inspiring reverence in Vanuatu history and contemporary life.