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find yourself...on moso island

watermark on moso | a unique waterfront holiday retreat and cultural experi‚Äčence | moso island vanuatu


Vanuatu's culture is as diverse as the 80-odd islands that make up this incredible country.

Much has been written by experts, but hardly anything exists about the culture and customs (kastoms) of Moso Island. This is probably because it has no abundant natural water source so compared to many other islands in North Efate, it hasn't always had a lot of population.

Briefly, the area of Havannah Harbour once had a settlement called Port Havannah on the mainland, colonised mainly by the British. Port Vila on the other hand was the preference of the French. Havannah and Vila are fine ports for shipping, but in the end Vila was chosen as the capital.

Kastom stories tell that somewhere between seven and eleven small villages existed on Moso pre-condominium (French & British co-ruled Vanuatu, known as the New Hebrides before independence), but missionaries in the mid-1800's encouraged them to come together onto the leeward side of the island into just two. Evidence of one of those two villages can still be found well past the school in the largest of the two existing villages, Tasseriki.

At some stage, those two villages combined into one, and in the '90's the only village on Moso was the now smaller village of Sunai. A second village was born out of Sunai when a difference of opinion between some chiefs saw some families move to Tasseriki's current location.

The expat subdivision of Emotu bay lies between Sunai and Tasseriki, and that is how Watermark on Moso became possible.

Of course, there are volumes of fantastic history in between, and we will leave it to learned historians and chiefs to fill in the blanks.

If you have an interest in touching Vanuatu's heart, we encourage you to seek those amongst the village who like to tell stories about their history, culture and kastoms. It's fascinating....a quiet moment is best, don't rush the storyteller (long periods of silence is part of the culture) and if they evade a question more than once it will be because it is a sad/bad story...and they simply don't enjoy rehashing those. Let it slide...and enjoy learning what makes some of the happiest people on earth, tick.