The Province of Penama consists of three islands: Pentecost, Ambae, and Maewo, located north of the Vanuatu group. Pentecost is known for one of the most remarkable customs in all of Melanesia, the Naghol, where men make spectacular leaps from high towers built from tree trunks as a gift to the gods to ensure a bountiful yam harvest. The island is the most populated in the Northern Province. Thee people, however, continue to preserve their traditional way of life, where survival depends on subsistence farming and traditional fishing.
Towards the northern tip of Pentecost Island is Abwatuntora, one of the biggest communities in the area, under the leadership of paramount chief Edward Rau. Abwatuntora has a population of over 300, mostly adults who have a strong respect for its chiefly systems. In 1999, Chief Rau led efforts to preserve approximately 185 acres of their coastal fishing ground as a no-take marine reserve for 10 years. Since then the marine reserve has been respectfully observed, though it has received no government recognition.
The community’s traditional meeting house, known as the Nakamal, needs to be replaced. Seacology will fund the construction of a new meeting house as well as a water tank. In return, the community will extend the marine reserve for another 10 years.