Roi Mata

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(Redirected from Roy Mata)
Chief Roi Mata’s Domain
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Fele's Cave.jpg
CriteriaCultural: (iii)(v)(vi)
Inscription2008 (32nd Session)
Area886.31 ha (2,190.1 acres)
Buffer zone1,275.42 ha (3,151.6 acres)
Coordinates17°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
Roi Mata is located in Vanuatu
Roi Mata
Location of Roi Mata in Vanuatu
Roi Mata is located in Oceania
Roi Mata
Roi Mata (Oceania)

Roi Mata (or Roy Mata, Roymata) was a powerful Melanesian chief in what is now Vanuatu. He is believed to have lived at the end of the 16th century, or the beginning of the 17th.[1]

In 2008, three sites associated with Roi Mata, on the islands of Efate, Lelepa and Eretoka, were made UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[2][3]

Roi Mata's grave[edit]

Roi Mata's elaborate grave, containing the bodies of over 25 members of his retinue, was discovered by French archaeologist José Garanger [fr] in 1967 and inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008. Garanger was able to locate the grave on Eretoka island by analyzing local folklore. According to legend, when Roi Mata conquered the land, his first goal was to unite the tribes to form an army.

His reign is reputed to have been a peaceful one. Roi 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.

Map of Chief Roi Mata's domain


Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Chief Roi Mata's domain (UNESCO report).
  2. ^ "Chief Roi Mata’s Domain", UNESCO.
  3. ^ "World Heritage Status set to ensure protection of Vanuatu's Roi Mata domain". Radio New Zealand International. July 9, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2011.


  • Chris Ballard; Meredith Wilson (2008). Chief Roi Mata's Domain (PDF) (Nomination by the Republic of Vanuatu for Inscription on the World Heritage List).

External links[edit]