The Butterfly Trust

supporting indigenous initiatives in health and education

The Butterfly Trust is a New Zealand registered charity which works primarily in Vanuatu. We listen to what Ni-Vanuatu (the people of Vanuatu) want, and then assist when asked with resourcing, administration, and monitoring and evaluation. The trust works from the national level to the grassroots village level, ensuring that all the projects we support fit within the strategic plans of the Vanuatu government.

While most of the projects we support concentrate on long-term improvements to health and education, we also assist with disaster relief when necessary.

  • Go to Our Communities to see the inspiring work the Ni-Vanuatu are doing in association with the Trust.
  • Go to Newsletters to see an historical record of our work.
  • Go to About for an explanation of the way we work.
  • If you would like to assist in any way, go to Get Involved.

News Updates

March 2024 – The Trust has been appointed implementing partner by the Embassy of Japan in Port Vila to manage the construction of composting toilets in a pilot project at Natawa Centre School and Tata Secondary School on the island of Espiritu Santo. As well as constructing the toilet blocks, local community builders will be trained in their construction so they can build more in the future, and community members will be instructed in how to manage the composting process. The project is expected to last until the end of the year.

26 October 2023 – Following Cyclone Lola the Butterfly Trust is on the ground on the island of Malekula assisting with damage assessments so that aid can be directed where it is most needed.

15 – 29 June 2023 – The Butterfly Trust distributes community water filters and provides education about clean water to remote villages in southwest Malekula with materials supplied by Yacht Aid Global and UNICEF.

5 – 16 June 2023 – A combined Butterfly Trust and Vanuatu Ministry of Health dental team provides outreach services to North Efate.

10 June 2023 – One of the Butterfly Trust’s trustees publishes a novel, “If That Was Lunch, We’ve Had It”, and donates all his royalties to the work of the trust. Just click on this link to support the trust and order a copy from your favourite bookstore.

28 May – 11 June 2023 – The Butterfly Trust distributes community water filters and provides education about clean water to remote villages in southeast Ambrym and Paama with materials supplied by Yacht Aid Global and UNICEF.

27 May 2023 – Auckland City beats Suva FC in extra time to win the OFC Champions League 4-2 in a very hard-fought encounter.

24 May 2023 – Auckland City beats Ifira Black Bird of Vanuatu to progress to the final of the OFC Champions League. Well done both teams.

22 May 2023 – The Butterfly Trust is one of the charities being supported by the Dental Expo being held in Auckland on 26 & 27 May 2023.

21 May 2023 – Ifira Black Bird of Vanuatu advances to the semifinals of the OFC Champions League in Vanuatu. Their semifinal opponent is Auckland City!

19 May 2023 – Legislation has been introduced into New Zealand’s Parliament that gives the Butterfly Trust donee status. This means that monetary donations to the Trust made on and after 1 April 2023 will be eligible for tax benefits, such as the donation tax credit, when the legislation becomes law (most likely in March 2024).

17 May 2023 – Auckland City Football Club, one of our long-standing supporters, advances to the semifinals of the 2023 OFC Champions League in Vanuatu.

March 2023 – in the first week of March, Vanuatu has suffered direct hits from two severe cyclones, Judy and Kevin. In addition a 6.5 magnitude seaquake struck just to the north of Espiritu Santo. There is widespread damage throughout the islands. As it has done in previous natural disasters, the Butterfly Trust is ready to assist with disaster recovery.

April 2022

Mr Iven Meltekly

Mr Iven (left) with Mr Benson on board Rireana 2011

It is with great sadness that we report, as the result of a tragic accident, the death of our wonderful friend, and Butterfly Trust supporter, Mr Iven Meltekly. Mr Iven, as we always called him (due to his status as a school teacher and later school principal), came from Matanvat village in northwest Malekula. We first met him 12 years ago when he was teaching at Sangalai Centre School in the Maskelyne Islands. He went on to become principal of the primary school on Akhamb Island at the southern end of Malekula, and then most recently, principal of Tautu Primary School just outside Norsup in the north of Malekula.

Mr Iven was a key participant in the Malampa Province Health Promoting Schools Programme which the Trust has been closely involved with. He helped set up community and school health and health education outreach programmes with the Trust, and he was a key contact for the Trust’s disaster relief work after Cyclone Pam in 2015.

Mr Iven leaves behind his wife Jeneth, his four young daughters, and a son who was born just two days before his death. 

Mr Iven was 46 years old, a stalwart of his community, a joy to work with, always smiling, always generous, and always positive. He was a true friend. He is a great loss to Vanuatu, his family, and all who knew him.

April 2022 – the Butterfly Trust is supporting Vanuatu’s Covid-19 response by assisting vaccinations in remote areas of Penama Province, WASH related Covid-19 responses in Samna Province, and the establishment of community isolation centres in Malampa Province. It has also supported the distribution of food to vulnerable people in Port Vila. More details to follow.

November 2021 – the Butterfly Trust, together with Keith Jacob and his team, began another sanitation and health project in ten villages in South Santo situated between the two main rivers of Waialo and Navaga.

17 September 2021 –  at the village of Lolomanganda on the island of Ambae, the Honourable Minister of Health, Silas Bule, the Director General of Health, Mr Russel Tamata, and the Assistant Secretary-General of Penama Province, opened the Butterfly Trust funded community toilets. These toilets were built as part of an ongoing sanitation and health programme on Ambae which is being overseen by Markson Tabi, the Public Health Manager for Penama Province.

August 2021 – The Butterfly Trust acquired a new portable dental unit for its oral health programme run in conjunction with the Vanuatu Ministry of Health dental team. Thanks to all our donors and especially HCDI Vanuatu and WGD Netherlands.

May and June of 2021 – Keith Jacob, the Environmental Health Officer for Sanma Province, and his team of sanitation officers, oversaw the Butterfly Trust’s community health and sanitation programme in the villages of Jarailan/Belmol, Narango, and Vunavus in South Santo. These villages were badly damaged during Cyclone Harold in 2020.

7 February 2021 – Auckland City Football Club played a top of the table Premiership match against Team Wellington at ACFC’s home ground at Kiwitea St in Auckland. The match was also a competition for the Charity Cup. ACFC invited the Butterfly Trust to be a part of the day to help raise awareness and funds concerning the Trust’s work in Vanuatu. It was a very successful and enjoyable day.