Roy Mata

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Chief Roi Mata’s Domain
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Fele's Cave.jpg
Location Vanuatu
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, v, vi
Reference 1280
UNESCO region Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 2008 (32nd Session)
Map of Chief Roi Mata's Domain

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.

Chief Roimata's grave, Eratoka Island, VanuatuTaken 08 January 2017

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.

Grave markers of Chief Roimata's wives - Eratoka Island08 January 2017

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


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

Coordinates: 17°37′41.05″S 168°10′39.79″E / 17.6280694°S 168.1777194°E / -17.6280694; 168.1777194