9 March is Matthew and Hunter Day. At 1:30 pm on that day in 1983 the Vanuatu flag was hoisted on Hunter Island, known to the people of Aneityum as Leka, and the national anthem sung as the active volcano was reclaimed for Tafea, Matthew and Hunter being uninhabited remote outliers of the southernmost province.
The two islands had been administered by France from the French Residency, Port Vila, during Condominium times, but as became apparent when the Dunkerquoise threatened to fire on Euphrosyne as the Vanuatu government vessel reached Matthew in 1983, France was determined to hold on to the two outliers as if they belonged to New Caledonia.
But the flag had been raised — on Hunter Island, the previous day.
It was thought a ceremony was to be organized for the day today, but Read the rest of this entry »
The Maritime Border Treaty between the Republic of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, signed on October 7, 2016 at Mota Lava Island in Vanuatu, has sealed the territorial boundaries between the two sovereign states. Prior to the signing, the boundaries had been under negotiations for the past Read the rest of this entry »
The efforts to create a Melanesian style border treaty with Solomon Islands are described as historic. “Melanesian solidarity” is certainly visible. Head of State Baldwin Lonsdale was at Motalava for the event and for a Temotu–Torba cultural festival heralding the much greater exchange of goods and ideas expected between the two provinces. Prime Ministers Sogavare and Salwai each led delegations to a natangura faréa where the border document was signed. Solomon Islands PM Sogavare will be assisting Vanuatu with border questions for Vanuatu relative to Fiji and New Caledonia. The ceremony took place with background music of the bamboo bands so common in both Banks and Temotu cultures. Solomon Islanders from the Santa Cruz Group have for a long time sought to come to Vanuatu to work in Luganville where the wages were always greater than in Honiara and the distance needing to be travelled to home shorter. However, it is not yet known if immigration procedures are going to be changed with the new border treaty. (Daily Post) Read the rest of this entry »