Features


The Chief Fighting for an Indigenous Vanuatu Nation.

Al Jazeera, August 26, 2017. 

"In the slums of Vanuatu's capital Port Vila, Chief Viraleo Boborenvanua awaits trial on bail."

Chief Viraleo Boborenvanua in his Port Vila residence, where he is based awaiting trial. 

Chief Viraleo Boborenvanua in his Port Vila residence, where he is based awaiting trial. 

In July 2017, I traveled to Pentecost, a small island in Vanuatu's north-east, to cover the story of a quasi-breakaway state located in the island's north-east. Chief Viraleo Boborenvanua, a charismatic and imposing figure, has established his own 'kustom' movement in the 'Turaga Nation', a small corner of Pentecost, which maintains its own language, script, education system and currency.  

His community has adopted a lifestyle based on Vanuatu's ancient traditions, which he feels are under threat by Western systems of governance and commerce that were imposed on the island. Viraleo is now under house arrest, awaiting trial, accused of a violent crime that has threatened to unravel his life's work. 

Pentecost Island from the air. 

Pentecost Island from the air. 

A local Chief in Turaga Nation displaying his pig's tusk collection: these tusks are used as currency on Pentecost. 

A local Chief in Turaga Nation displaying his pig's tusk collection: these tusks are used as currency on Pentecost. 


Why Trump Shouldn't Weaken US Sanctions on Russia

The Lowy Interpreter, December 7, 2016. 

This two-part feature explored how US sanctions are essential in keeping Vladimir Putin's 'empire building' in check. At the time, US President-Elect Donald Trump had signalled that his administration would consider winding back strict Russian sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. In this piece, I argue such a move would counter US foreign policy interests in Eurasia and globally.