Settlement on the 85 Vanuatu islands dates back to around 500 BC. There is evidence that Melanesian navigators from Papua New Guinea were the first to colonise Vanuatu. Over centuries, other migrations followed. Nowadays, all the inhabited islands have their own languages, customs and traditions.

“A girl is like a branch of nettle tree – whatever ground you plant it in, it will grow”

Many Vanuatu believe that wealth can be obtained through ceremonies. Dance is an important part of their culture; many villages have dancing grounds called Nasara. A significant traditional event is the Toka festival on Tanna Island, a symbol of alliance and friendship between different indigenous groups.

Rock of Rah Rah lava Island, Torba Province Vanuatu Islands, 2011 NI Vanuatu Men Rah Lava Island, Torba Province Vanuatu Islands, 2011 Snake Dancers Ni Vanuatu Men Rah Lava Island, Torba Province Vanuatu, 2011 Ni Vanuatu men Yakel villagers on Tanna Island Rom Dancers on Ambrym Island Mount Yasur, Tanna Island Ni Yakel villagers on Mount Yasur Kava Big Nambas Ni Yakel villagers Ni Yakel villagers, Mount Yasur, Tanna Island Vanuatu Islands, 2011 Tanna Island Rom Dancers Wintua Village Rom dancers