Lenakel, Tanna Island
As one of four suitable anchorages around Tanna, trade has favoured Lenakel Bay. Tanna is Vanuatu’s sixth-largest island by area although by population it is the third. Since British cotton plantations were established on Tanna’s west coast in the 1860s (and soon abandoned), Lenakel has been one of the island’s important settlements and today it is Tanna’s largest town. Lenakel used to be the province’s capital, but Isangel –less than 2 kilometres away inland- was made the administrative centre. The two towns are growing towards each other and form the nucleus of commerce and politics on the island. Unlike other parts of Vanuatu where Asian shop owners are the rule, trade and commerce on Tanna is in the hand of the locals. Almost 46% of the population is under 15 years of age, yet “Kastom” –local traditional culture and values- is quite strong on the island. The famous John Frum Cult has its roots on Tanna’s east coast and claims Mt Yasur as John Frum’s seat.