The Republic of Vanuatu is one of four independent countries in Melanesia (the others are Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands).
It is made up of 83 islands located to the south-west of the Solomon Islands and is home to around 270,000 people, three quarters of whom live in rural areas.
Vanuatu was first inhabited over 4,000 years ago, but its more recent history has involved complex colonial relationships, particularly with Britain and France. Vanuatu gained independence in 1980 and since then, Vanuatu’s politics have been marked by frequent changes of government. The last elections were held in March 2020, which saw Bob Loughman chosen as the new Prime Minister.
New Zealand has a long-standing and warm relationship with Vanuatu. We share some common cultural characteristics, and have key interests in our shared region and Pacific identities. New Zealand has been a reliable source of assistance in times of humanitarian need, and has an extensive development programme based on our Joint Commitment for Development. This sets out the shared vision of our two governments, the priority areas we're focused on, each country's responsibilities and the funding New Zealand will provide.