1. You’re supporting the local mamas

If it wasn’t enough that Cyclone Pam destroyed the crops of many of the market mamas, the pulling out of major international airlines has also affected the sales of handicraft products. Without tourists buying their products, why not show some support and get yourself a genuine Vanuatu hand made product? Let’s help the mamas get back on track again by showcasing their craft!

2. Every product is unique

No two products are the same. Each item has been lovingly handcrafted, with some taking weeks to make depending on the size and structure. Plus weaving is an art form of Vanuatu – every item you buy helps preserve the culture.

selling mats at the market

Mamma selling mats at the market

3. Woven products are long lasting, high quality and made from natural materials

You may find replicas in Chinese stores, but you can see, feel and even smell the difference. Woven products are made from coconut and pandanus trees. So high is the quality, it can be passed down to future generations.

4. Every item is useful

Whether it’s a basket, bag, placemat, hat, mat, fan or bowl – there’s a use for every item. Whip out the mat when you go to the beach. Don’t forget your woven hat to protect your from the sun. Then come home and snack on a juicy banana from the fruit bowl, before sharing a meal on a table that’s set with unique placemats. Very natural, very Vanuatu and very handy.

Nannette Bani weaving

The work of Nannette Bani

5. They make perfect gifts

Looking for a gift that represents Vanuatu to send overseas? Woven products are the ideal present! So long as they are dry, they are easily quarantined. Plus they won’t break the bank – items start from as little as 300vt up to 3000vt.

fruit bowl vanuatu

Woven bowl made by Nannette Bani

Where can I buy woven products?

If you are looking for authentic products, there are several places you can go.  There is the Port Vila Handicrafts at the Wharf. In town, there is a handicraft market next to the old Hebrida opposite Westpac or at the Port Vila Market house. There is also the Port Vila Community Handicraft Association (PVCHA), which is situated in Independence Park area. At the market house, you will find unique buys hidden between bunches of bananas and pawpaw that aren’t made for the typical tourist. Woven fruit baskets and bowls with colorful designs reflect the mama’s own unique culture, whether it’s Lelepa or Naraside, and are perfect accessories for the house. These ladies are usually self-taught. At Hebrida or the PVCHA, many of the ladies have taken lessons to sharpen their craft, displaying talents beyond weaving, including sewing, carvings and jewelry, to offer a variety of Vanuatu made products that are excellent gifts.