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Portions of Paradise: How customary land is being taken over by foreign interests in Vanuatu

In 2010, I was fortunate to spend two weeks in Vanuatu’s main island of Efate.  There were serious concerns by various stakeholders over the land grabbing that was happening in Vanuatu.

The excerpt is taken from the documentary I produced with help from the Vanuatu Cultural Center.  This was uploaded when 4G was nonexistent in Papua New Guinea.


“When Vanuatu was granted Independence from the British and French in 1980, indigenous, Ni-Vanuatu landowners were of the view that the large portions of land taken by colonial powers would be handed back to them.

More than years on, much of the land still remains under British titles or “French Claims.” And now a new threat is emerging.

Australia’s aggressive foreign policies played out through an aid  supported land reform program is fueling a land grab by  real estate companies based in Vanuatu.  While reforms may be seen as a path to economic development, the Ni-Vanuatu are being robbed of their traditional rights to fish, hunt and live on what was once their ancestral land.

Critics of the land reform program point out that a there is an increasing undercurrent of dissatisfaction among the younger generation who no longer have access to the resources that their parents once had.”

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