Roy Mata

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Chief Roi Mata’s Domain
UNESCO World Heritage site
Fele's Cave.jpg
Location Vanuatu
Criteria Cultural: (iii)(v)(vi)
Reference 1280
Inscription 2008 (32nd Session)
Area 886.31 ha (2,190.1 acres)
Buffer zone 1,275.42 ha (3,151.6 acres)
Coordinates 17°37′41.05″S 168°10′39.79″E / 17.6280694°S 168.1777194°E / -17.6280694; 168.1777194Coordinates: 17°37′41.05″S 168°10′39.79″E / 17.6280694°S 168.1777194°E / -17.6280694; 168.1777194
Roy Mata is located in Vanuatu
Roy Mata
Location of Roy Mata in Vanuatu.
Roy Mata is located in Oceania
Roy Mata
Roy Mata (Oceania)

Roimata was a powerful 13th century Melanesian chief from what is now Vanuatu. His elaborate grave, containing the bodies of over 25 members of his retinue, was discovered by French archaeologist Jose Garranger in 1967 and inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008. Garranger was able to locate the grave on Eretoka island by analyzing local folklore. According to legend, when Roy Mata conquered the land, his first goal was to unite the tribes.

His reign is reputed to have been a peaceful one. Roy Mata was fatally poisoned by his brother. His body was not buried in his homeland and his name was not used in future generations because the locals feared his spirit.

In 2008, three sites associated with Roy Mata, on the islands of Efate, Lelepa and Eretoka, were made UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[1][2]

Map of Chief Roi Mata's Domain


  1. Vanuatu A to Z Retrieved August 25, 2006.
  2. "Roy Mata", Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. (in English) "Roymata - Ancient King of Vanuatu", Vanuatu Tourism Office