Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) November 26, 2009 -- A World Heritage Site, Chief Roi Mataâs domain, has once more hit the world stage. It is the final chapter of a story that involved 838 participants in a Guinness World Record Challenge, held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, in the South Pacific, on the 19th November. You Me Support Foundation, a Vanuatu charity, hosted the event.
The tale covered the 83 islands of the archipelago, which stretches across 1000kms. On each island the main characters of the story exposed wonders that few know about, from giant burial stones in the south, to a fire walking ceremony, to giant lobsters and coconut crabs in the far north.
In the last chapter of âVanuatu Treasureâ the two central characters, Natou-Kole and Laena are seen standing alongside the treasure chest, outside Roi Mataâs cave home, on Lelepa Island, while Maui, the giant tortoise, completes a victory roll in the sky.
Chief Roi Mata was the last of Vanuatuâs paramount chiefs. He was a strong and very powerful 17th century Melanesian chief and generally known for his social reforms and conflict resolutions. He was the first to hold the great peace feasts, where he introduced a system of totemic clans, which succeeded in binding the people together through maternal links.
Roi Mata is even an inspiration and source of power for many of the Ni-Vanuatu people, even today. It is thought the ancient cave drawing on Lelepa Island represents Roi Mata.
Custom tabu (prohibition) has remained in place for over 400 years, concerning Roi Mataâs mass burial site. It is said to contain between 25 - 50 members of his retinue, who were buried alive with him. It is understood the men were allowed to drink kava, a soporiphic local drink, but this privilege was not extended to the women.
According to legend he was the first chief to beat the land and unite the tribes. Though Roi Mata had a peaceful reign, he was poisoned to death by his brother.
Roi Mataâs body was removed to the island of Artuk for burial, as the locals feared his spirit. A small community living on Artuk was forced to relocate to the main island of Efate.
Because of the oral tradition to the culture, it is hard to find very much written about this powerful chief. No one since has dared to take the name of Roi Mata.
### Dr Wendy Stenberg-Tendys and her husband are CEO's of YouMe Support Foundation ([http://youmesupport.org]) provide high school education grants for children who are without hope. You can help in this really great project by taking a few minutes to check it the Tropical Island Treasure Chest at Win a Resort ([http://winaresort.com]) It really will change your life.