Forefathers and foremothers, and nation-builders who shaped Vanuatu whose stories are featured in ‘Taf Tumas! Becoming Vanuatu _ Naissance du Vanuatu’.


Port Vila, 23 January 2023: Vanuatu will join the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day of Education on 24 January with the launch of the second non-fiction children’s storybook about nation-builders who have helped to shape this country. ‘Taf Tumas! Becoming Vanuatu / Naissance du Vanuatu’ is published by the Vanuatu Children’s Literature Initiative that sits under the Nabanga Pikinini Association, a charitable organisation dedicated to building children’s literary resources.


The fifth International Day of Education celebrated in 2023 has a theme “to invest in people, prioritise education”. For the Vanuatu writing community, the idea grew from three core goals: encouraging Vanuatu’s children to read; sharing stories about people and contexts familiar to Vanuatu’s children; and inspiring Vanuatu’s children with real and amazing home-grown stories.


“This second volume of ‘Taf Tumas!’ grew out of positive public feedback following the release of the first volume for Vanuatu’s 40th independence anniversary”, said the book creator and Managing Editor, Anna Naupa. “People asked us to share stories about Independence leaders, and so we set out to do this, including stories about lesser-known, hidden figures in the pre-independence years”.


The beautifully illustrated 200-page hardback flip book is in English and French and presents 42 diverse stories for children, parents, and teachers to read together. ‘Taf Tumas! Becoming Vanuatu / Naissance du Vanuatu’ will be launched by the Prime Minister at an event on the International Day of Education.


With encouragement from the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) and support from partners, many of the printed books will be distributed free to Vanuatu’s approximately 400 primary schools. A limited number of copies are available in the country for the launch event, however more copies are currently on their way to Vanuatu to be distributed into schools. Copies will be made available to the public once school distributions have completed.


Nabanga Pikinini is grateful to the 50 forefathers and foremothers and their families who agreed to share their inspiring and sometimes personal stories, and to the partners who have assisted with design, translation, printing, duty exemptions, shipping, and distribution costs: Ministry of Education & Training, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Alliance Française, Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC), and the Vanuatu Education Support Programme (VESP).


“I remember the pre-independence years as an exciting yet nerve-wracking time”, said Ketty Napuat, a writer of ‘Taf Tumas’. “Sharing these memories for our next generation of leaders is so important”.


Artwork by artists, with the youngest being eight years old, engaged as part of the initiative will be exhibited as part of the launch event and at future opportunities. The artistic portraits reflect a range of techniques from the use of paint, pencil, and digital media.


“I am extremely excited to be one of the many artists in ‘Taf Tumas!’” said Paiavuturu Trief, one of ‘Taf Tumas!’ youngest artist who was 9 when he did the artwork. “What motivates me to do art is seeing the work of other amazing artists from around the world as well as my sisters”.


In all, over 65 people volunteered their time to plan, research, write, edit, proofread, illustrate, and organise the book.


Keep an eye and ear out for ‘Taf Tumas! Becoming Vanuatu / Naissance du Vanuatu’ on social media, website ( and on the national radio in Vanuatu’s three official languages. For children in schools, you will soon have copies distributed to your school for you to enjoy.