The community on Makira Island and in Port Vila have a new Paramount Chief.
He is Sandy Shem, who was bestowed with a chiefly title of Masoerangi, previously held by his father Egen Masoerangi, until last Saturday when he ceremonially handed down the chiefly title to his son Sandy Shem.
The new Paramount Chief Masoerangi is the fourth generation to inherit the chiefly title.
Translated as ‘Morning Star’ in English, the new Paramount Chief of Makira was traditionally ordained by two chiefs, one being his father in a customary ceremony last Saturday witnessed by members of his community in Anamburu, Port Vila.
He is now walking in his father’s footsteps.
The chiefly title Masoerangi is always traditionally handed down through bloodline from generation to generation. Sandy Shem Masoerangi is laden with the responsibilities of keeping peace and unity amongst his people both on the island of Makira in the Shepherds Group, as well as in Port Vila where he is currently based.
“I know there are challenges ahead, because we are no longer living and isolated within cultural boundaries as were our forefather.
“Today, the responsibility goes beyond customary responsibility.
“It is a modern world we are living in.
“There’s the daily challenges of issues such as dealing with marriages, young people’s problems in town, marriage problems, customary land issues, migration issues, keeping pace with other islands’ chiefs in town as well as government, churches and of course the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, police, court and more,” new Makira Paramount Chief Masoerangi related to Daily Post.
“To merge traditional and western ideologies is not that easy but we the chiefs have the challenge to see that our young generation grow up learning to speak our mother tongue, learn and appreciate our good traditional way of life, keep the respect for their elders, themselves and other islanders living in Port Vila, continue to maintain their faith in God, grow in God’s wisdom and the wisdom of their customs and cultures which are good and acceptable before God,” said the 34-yea-old Paramount Chief Masoeangi, who vows to ensure his people back home and in Port Vila maintain peace and unity amongst themselves and the rest of island communities in Port vila.