Southern Vanuatu formed a hub in a network stretching to New Caledonia, some 400km south-west, and to Western Polynesia, several thousand kilometres east. We currently have limited understanding of the diachronic elements of this network, with most knowledge coming from ethnohistoric data. Greenstone was traded from New Caledonia, and objects of shell and tooth likely featured in Polynesian exchanges in more recent prehistory. As an initial step in investigating this dynamic network, we review archaeological findings and museum examples of portable art from southern Vanuatu. This material reveals traces of indigenous agency, exchange systems and significance of portable art in the region, with ethnohistoric data providing a baseline for exploring the deeper past of long-distance and inter-archipelagic networks.