The atoll is a low and flat coralline island with an elongated shape. It is 9 km in length and 1 km wide. Because it is a small atoll, there is no lagoon.
Arorae culture has been influenced by Samoa more than most of the other atolls in the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati). This is because Samoan missionaries settled there and converted the island's residents to the Protestant Church. The Samoan presence in Arorae shaped their style of dancing leaving Arorae the island known for the "taubati", a dance using claps, slaps, and stomps as visual percussion to accompany local song.
Because it is a more remote outer-island within the Gilbert line of the Republic of Kiribati, it is known for maintaining a more traditional culture held together mostly under the authority of "unimwane" (village elders).
Arorae fisherman are skilled at catching large tuna and shark using hand line. Arorae fisherman usually save the dorsal shark fin to export for shark fin soup; however, the island has a strict law against cutting the dorsal fin of any shark without taking the entire shark ashore for food.
Arorae is also known for navigational stones that circa 1000 - 1500 AD were raised at the island's northern tip and used to aid travelers in setting a course for neighboring islands - Tamana, Nikunau, Beru and Onotoa.
Arorae Post Office opened around 1923.
- Exhibit: The Alfred Agate Collection: The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 from the Navy Art Gallery
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