About Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a double chain of 13 principal and many smaller islands in the south-western Pacific Ocean. The islands are volcanic and coral in origin. They lie about 800 kilometres west of Fiji and nearly 1800 kilometres east of Australia. Around 65 of the islands are inhabited. Vanuatu has mountains and plateaus but is more famous for its coastal terraces and coral reefs.

Find out more about Vanuatu




307,150 (2022)


12,190 square kilometres

High Commissioner




Joined Commonwealth

1980, following ending of administration Anglo-French condominium

Top Exports


Episode guests

Rebecca Tobo Olul-Hossen

Rebecca Tobo Olul-Hossen

A ni-Vanuatu poet, storyteller, and editor, Rebecca co-edited Vanuatu’s first women’s anthology, Sista, Stanap Strong! (THWUP, 2021) and first non-fiction children’s book, Taf Tumas (2020). Her poems and short stories were published in anthologies in Vanuatu, Fiji, and Aotearoa, including Sport 47 (THWUP, 2019), Voes (AF, 2020), Rising Tides (SPC, 2020), A Game Of Two Halves (THWUP, 2021), and Va – Stories by Women of the Moana (Tatou Publishing, 2021), andNZ climate change anthology No Other Place To Stand (AUP, Jul 2022). She participated in the 60th Brisbane Writers Festival (2022), the 32nd Medellin Poetry Festival (2023), and the First Nations Writers’ Festival (2023). A recent publication is a poem in Adda, the Commonwealth Foundation online magazine of new writing from around the globe (Feb 2023), and a poem in Madness: An anthology of world poetry (Apr 2023). In 2023, one of her poems was selected to feature alongside other Pasifika poets at COP23. Upcoming publications include a short story in a Pacific anthology of children’s fantasy stories. Noteworthy community projects she is involved in include as a co-convenor of the Haus Storian, for the first time bringing literary arts into the 7th Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival in 2023, and in 2024 a first ‘sot sot storian’ (micro-fiction) competition for Vanuatu writers. She is committed to growing literature in Oceania.

Mama Graon - what have we done?

by Rebecca Tobo Olul-Hossen

Written in response to the Tonga volcano eruption and reaction from the Vanuatu volcanoes

Coconuts dot the landscape
An intricate shell lei a salu salu around Mama Graon’s crown
Rivers snake like eels slice into Mama Graon’s hip down to the solwota
Tattooing Mama Graon with squiggly shapes through her fine greenery
Meeting the ocean in a soft gentle kiss a c a r e s s
An urgent resounding smash as it pours in the hills
Sediments swept out into the solwota colouring it a steady brown
Killing fish sea creatures and bleaching coral

A cavernous yawn in the ground s t r e t c h i n g for miles
Unfathomable natural phenomenon perched on the Ring of Fire
Mama Graon growls birthing lava stones and ash
Groans deep from Mama Graon’s belly
Groans of a woman in labour
Perhaps Sapai and Maunga are in the depths of it
Birthing proud plumes of ash falling back to earth
Inundating homes gardens pigs chickens homes

Monstrous quaking of the earth destabilizing all we know
A large angry wall of solwota r a c i n g inland
Rearing its serpent-like head poised to strike
People run for the hills
Your children run for the hills
Social media flood with ash-filtered devastation to livestock livelihoods lives
Majijiki and the other gods are f u m i n g
Mama Graon what have we done?

Chusum (The Choice)

by Mildred Sope

Life in this world is for man to

Make his choice

Where to go

What to eat

What to do

What types of clothes to wear

Which people to be his friends

Then he can say he wasn’t

Alone or left astray in this world

He has friends

He has food

He has a place to sleep

He has everything