25 Jun 2019

South Sea Islander MP visits Vanuatu

3:20 pm on 25 June 2019

Australia's first South Sea Islander MP, Stephen Andrew, has received a customary welcome at Port Vila on his first visit to the Vanuatu capital.

Stephen Andrew, MP for Mirani, Qeensland.

Stephen Andrew, MP for Mirani, Qeensland. Photo: Stephen Andrew

Mr Andrew is a fifth generation South Sea Islander, as the Australian descendants of Pacific island plantation workers are known.

They were kidnapped or recruited in the 19th century to labour on Queensland's sugarcane plantations.

The Queensland MP was accompanied by the Queensland Speaker of Parliament, Curtis Pitt.

The Daily Post reported Mr Andrew, who has relatives on the island of Ambae, was given a custom welcome by Ambaean chiefs when he arrived in Port Vila.

The delegation is expected to travel to Ambae where the MP will be given a chiefly name.

He's also expected to travel to Santo where Ambaeans are being sheltered after fleeing volcanic eruptions on the island last year

Most of the 11,000 Ambaeans evacuated have already returned to their island now that the ash fall has ceased.

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