Raechel has finally found home and has dual citizenship

LOST IDENTITY: Raechel Ivey has received citizenship in Vanuatu after finding documents proving that her great-grandparents were kidnapped in the 1800s to become slaves. (Inset) Raechel’s great-grandparents James Tuku and Fanny Battingarra
LOST IDENTITY: Raechel Ivey has received citizenship in Vanuatu after finding documents proving that her great-grandparents were kidnapped in the 1800s to become slaves. (Inset) Raechel’s great-grandparents James Tuku and Fanny Battingarra Contributed

WHEN Raechel Ivey first stepped foot in Vanuatu, she knew she was home.

It has been a long journey for the Australian South Sea Islander to prove her heritage and regain her identity.

Raechel is one of the first South Sea Islanders to gain dual citizenship in Vanuatu and Australia.

The Vanuatu Government recently made a change to its constitution allowing residents and indigenous ni-Vanuatu born overseas to hold dual citizenship.

Raechel said her journey to be recognised as a citizen of Vanuatu wasn't only for her; it was about giving her great-grandfather and great-grandmother their identity back, after it was stolen in the 1800s.

James Tuku and Fanny Battingarra were stolen from their respective homes in Vanuatu during the indentured labour trade that went on from 1847-1908.

Her great-grandparents were taken to Sydney, where James's last name was changed to Togo and he was made a gardener, while Fanny was a maid.

For Raechel, 55, it has been an emotional journey learning how her great-grandparents lost their identity, language and culture after being kidnapped.

Raechel, who moved to Central Queensland more than 17 years ago from Tweed Heads in NSW, got documentation of her great-grandparent's registration as "aliens" in Australia to prove that she is originally from Vanuatu.

In the early 1900s her great grandparents were set free and later wed and had children.

While their family was raised in Australia, Raechel says she's never felt completely at home here.

"My birth certificate says I'm Aussie, but we know we were brought over here," the Emerald woman said.

"Being Australian doesn't feel like my home; we're not Aboriginal or Torres Strait.

This documentation "shows that I belong somewhere."

After several trips to Vanuatu with documentation of her great-grandparents' history, Raechel was granted citizenship of her home country.

"I got a letter to say I've been approved, now I'll go back to Vanuatu to do an oath of allegiance," she said.

The mother of 10 plans to move back to Vanuatu in the future and begin to reconnect with family she's found in recent years.

Raechel said that while her people may have been stolen; "they didn't steal the heart of who we really are".


Blackbirding (also known as the indentured labour trade) of South Sea Islanders happened between 1847-1908

An estimated 55,000 men and some women taken

Some islands' entire male population were taken

25-30% died through lack of immunity and maltreatment

There are an estimated 40,000 surviving descendants today

Most South Sea Islanders were brought to Queensland to work in the sugar industry

Topics:  south sea islander vanuatu

Multiple cattle killed in trailer rollover accident

RACQ Helicopter Rescue are on their way to a property SW of Rolleston.

Rescue chopper are on their way to a rollover at Rolleston.

Zilzie man in court for serious drug offences


Serious charges for 23-year-old Zilzie man

Quarry open day a great success

OPEN DAY: Reece Gough from Capricorn Sandstone says the weekend's open day was successful.

Capricorn Sandstone at Stanwell opened their doors to CQ locals

Local Partners

Thefts from cars decreases dramatically in a week

"We are seeing short-term indications that the community are being more security aware"

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

LISTEN: Headbangers Halloween Hellfest lineup for Rocky gig

LEGENDARY: Odysseus Reborn hail from Bundaberg and will play the Headbangers Halloween Hellfest on October 29.

Four bands on the bill for metal core music gig this Friday night

Program announced for weekend's film festival

Lead character Frankie in one of the Capricorn Film Festival's short films, Slingshot, to screen this weekend.

Over 20 short films by CQ filmmakers to screen this weekend

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

ADFAS lecture on UK's greatest gardener

FINE ART: Lancelot "Capability" Brown.

Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society welcomes lecturer

High School sell-out evening

MEANINGFUL CREATIONS: Rockhampton State High Schools will perform their first Drama and Dance Showcase tonight, after it sold out in just eight days.

High School drama and dance showcase a sell-out event

Females are funnier in play

Rockhampton Little Theatre's cast rehearse for their production, Female of the Species.

Rockhampton Little Theatre's latest performance

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

Women unite for families

INSPIRING: The Engaging Women fundraising event at Rosslyn Bay Resort and Beaches Bistro on November 13 will feature a screening of popular film, Dream, Girl - a documentary showcasing the stories of inspiring and ambitious female entrepreneurs.

Documentary empowers women and helps raise funds.

Coast biggest rental drop in Qld

Vacancy rates for the September quarter.

Vacancy rates on Coast a promising sign

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Low rent helps teen get ahead

Yeppoon Real Estate principal and owner Esme Coren at one of their rental properties in Yeppoon.

Low rent great for tenant, not for owner

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available