VANAUTU – Last week Prince Charles touched down in Vanuatu on a side trip from his visit to Australia for the Commonwealth Games, but unfortunately he might not have been  the British prince that some of the islanders had been hoping for.

It is his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who is regarded in a very spiritual way to a community of Tanna islanders. When he visited in 1974 many believed Philip was a reincarnation of an ancient warrior.

 Philip, the husband of the Queen of England, may hold a string of grand titles but for the small community, deep in the rainforests on the southwestern part of the island of Tanna, he is regarded as a an demi-god.

“For them Philip is a tabu man – human but possessing qualities and powers that make him sacred,” Matthew Baylis, the British author of Man Belong Mrs Queen: My Adventures with the Philip Worshippers, who spent time living with the villagers, told the ABC.

He said the people have a special relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh that is more complex than simple worship.

“The closest parallel I can think of is the way we treat our war dead,” Baylis said. “We honour them, remember them, hold ceremonies for them, but we’re not actually worshipping them.”

A group of people living around Yaohnanen village on Tanna have an ancient legend, describing a band of warriors who left the island to fight a war to protect and preserve their culture.

The leader of the warrior group vowed to one day return with a rich, powerful – and white wife.

In 1974, the British Royal family visited Vanuatu – then known as New Hebrides – as part of a tour of the Commonwealth.

While he and Queen Elizabeth did not visit the isolated community, it is said that Prince Philip handed a symbolic white pig to a Tanna man in the country’s capital, Port Vila.

It is believed that from that gesture the Tanna people formed a strong bond with Prince Philip, believing him to be a physical representation of the ancient warrior leader returning home with his wife.

According to Kirk Huffman, a research associate at the Australian Museum in Sydney and honorary curator of the National Museum of Vanuatu, it’s a link they are very serious about.

“On Tanna, traditional spiritual belief systems are a 24/7 situation,” Huffman told the ABC.

Reports this week that Vanuatu was to be the site of a Chinese military base caught most in Vanuatu by surprise.

Pacific Briefs

Tuesday April 10, 2018


FIJI – Fiji’s meteorological service says Cyclone Keni was a category two storm but expected to intensify further as it moves closest to Fiji at around midday yesterday.

Highlands rocked by new quake

Tuesday April 10, 2018

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Emergency response teams are being flown by helicopter to a remote part of Papua New Guinea – a region already struggling to recover from a magnitude-7.5 quake which hit in February.

Pacific Briefs

Monday April 09, 2018


PAPUA NEW GUINEA – World Vision Papua New Guinea is assisting 5000 people with water and sanitation following February’s magnitude 7.5 earthquake in the Highlands.

First medal for the Solomons

Monday April 09, 2018

SOLOMON ISLANDS – Solomon Islands won its first ever Commonwealth Games medal on a historic night on the Gold Coast.

FIJI – With rivers still raging, thousands still in temporary shelters, and streets and farmland caked in silt and mud after Cyclone Josie little more than a week ago, residents in Fiji’s sodden west are now being warned to be prepare for the arrival of yet another cyclone.

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