Chief Roi Mata's Domain
History and museums
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.