Wife of Vanuatu's first head of state farewelled

Vanuatu's first head of state, Ati George Sokomanu, farewelled his wife, Leitak, on Sunday at their home village of Mele, after she died on Saturday.

Known to everyone as Vanuatu's first ever First Lady, Leitak was Ati George Sokomanu's helper during the struggle towards the birth of a new nation in the 1970s.

She would cook and ensure people could gather at the family home for meals and avoid the attention of the French and British colonial masters.

At the funeral the wife of Vanuatu's first Prime Minister, Mary Lini, said Leitak is Vanuatu's Mother of Independence, because of all the commitments she made to George and his friends and their families, so could continue the mission of achieving Independence.

Leitak was 83.