Wallis and Futuna

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Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands
Territoire des îles Wallis et Futuna
Telituale o Uvea mo Futuna
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité"
Anthem: La Marseillaise
Capital
and largest city
Mata-Utu
13°17′S 176°11′W / 13.283°S 176.183°W / -13.283; -176.183
Official languages French
Vernacular
languages
Ethnic groups Polynesians[1]
Demonym
  • Wallisian
  • Futunan
Government Overseas collectivity
 -  President of France François Hollande
 -  Administrator Superior Michel Jeanjean
 -  President of the
Territorial Assembly
Petelo Hanisi
 -  King of Uvea Kapiliele Faupala (since 2008)[2]
 -  King of Alo vacant (since 2010)
 -  King of Sigave Polikalepo Kolivai (since 2010)
Status
 -  Overseas territory 1959a 
 -  Overseas collectivity 2003 
Area
 -  Total 264 km2 (211th)
102 sq mi
 -  Water (%) negligible
Population
 -  July 2009 estimate 15,289[1] (228th)
 -  July 2008 census 13,484[3]
 -  Density 57.9/km2 (125th)
149.9/sq mi
GDP (nominal) 2005 estimate
 -  Total US$188 million[4] (not ranked)
 -  Per capita US$12,640[4] (not ranked)
Currency CFP franc (XPF)
Time zone (UTC+12)
Calling code +681
ISO 3166 code WF
Internet TLD .wf
a. By popular vote.

Wallis and Futuna, officially the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands[5] (French: Wallis et Futuna or Territoire des îles Wallis et Futuna, Fakauvea and Fakafutuna: Uvea mo Futuna), is a French island collectivity in the South Pacific between Tuvalu to the northwest, Rotuma of Fiji to the west, the main part of Fiji to the southwest, Tonga to the southeast, Samoa to the east, the New Zealand-associated state of Tokelau to the northeast and to a more distant north the Phoenix Islands (Kiribati). Wallis and Futuna is not part of French Polynesia, nor even contiguous with it, as the former are located at the very opposite western end of Polynesia.

Its land area is 264 km2 (102 sq mi) with a population of about 15,000. Mata-Utu is the capital and biggest city. The territory is made up of three main volcanic tropical islands along with a number of tiny islets, and is split into two island groups that lie about 260 km (160 mi) apart, namely Wallis Islands (Uvea) in the northeast, and Hoorn Islands (also called the Futuna Islands) in the southwest, including Futuna Island proper and the mostly uninhabited Alofi Island.

Since 2003 Wallis and Futuna has been a French overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer, or COM). Between 1961 and 2003, it had the status of a French overseas territory (territoire d'outre-mer, or TOM), though its official name did not change when the status changed.

Politics[edit]

The territory is divided into three traditional kingdoms (royaumes coutumiers): Uvea, on the island of Wallis, Sigave, on the western part of the island of Futuna, and Alo, on the island of Alofi and on the eastern part of the island of Futuna (only Uvea is further subdivided, into three districts):

Kingdom
  District
Capital Area
(km²)
Population
July 2008 Census[3]
Villages(1)
Wallis Island
`Uvea (Wallis) Matāʻutu 77.5 9,227 21
Hihifo ("west") Vaitupu 23.4 2,203 5
Hahake ("east") Matāʻutu 27.8 3,759 6
Mu'a ("first") Mala'efo'ou (2) 26.3 3,265 10
Hoorn Islands (Futuna and Alofi)
Sigave (Singave) Leava 30.0 1,591 6
Alo Mala'e 85.0 2,666 9
overall total Matāʻutu 192.5 13,484 36
  • (1) referred to the villages with municipal status
  • (2) formerly called Mua

The capital of the collectivity is Matāʻutu on the island of Uvéa, the most populous of the Wallis Islands. As an overseas collectivity of France, it is governed under the French constitution of 28 September 1958, and has universal suffrage for those over 18 years of age. The French president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; the high administrator is appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the Territorial Government and the Territorial Assembly are elected by the members of the assembly.

The head of state is President François Hollande of France as represented by the Administrator-Superior Michel Jeanjean (since July 2010). The President of the Territorial Assembly is Petelo Hanisi since 11 December 2013.[6] The Council of the Territory consists of three kings (monarchs of the three pre-colonial kingdoms) and three members appointed by the high administrator on the advice of the Territorial Assembly.

The legislative branch consists of the unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblée territoriale of 20 seats; the members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. Wallis and Futuna elects one senator to the French Senate and one deputy to the French National Assembly.

Justice is generally administered under French law by a tribunal of first instance in Mata-Utu, but the three traditional kingdoms administer justice according to customary law (only for non-criminal cases). The court of appeal is in Nouméa, New Caledonia.

The territory participates in the Franc Zone, and as a permanent member of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and as an observer of the Pacific Islands Forum.

History[edit]

Ruins of the Talietumu fort

Although the Dutch and the British were the European discoverers of the islands in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was the French who were the first Europeans to settle in the territory, with the arrival of French missionaries in 1837, who converted the population to Roman Catholicism. Pierre Chanel, canonized as a saint in 1954, is a major patron of the island of Futuna and the region. The Wallis Islands are named after the British explorer, Samuel Wallis.[citation needed]

On 5 April 1842, the missionaries asked for the protection of France after the rebellion of a part of the local population. On 5 April 1887, the queen of Uvea (on the island of Wallis) signed a treaty officially establishing a French protectorate. The kings of Sigave and Alo on the islands of Futuna and Alofi also signed a treaty establishing a French protectorate on 16 February 1888. The islands were put under the authority of the French colony of New Caledonia.

In 1917, the three traditional kingdoms were annexed to France and turned into the Colony of Wallis and Futuna, which was still under the authority of the Colony of New Caledonia.[citation needed]

During World War II the island's administration was pro-Vichy until a Free French corvette from New Caledonia deposed the regime on 26 May 1942. Units of the US Marine Corps landed on Wallis on 29 May 1942.[7]

In 1959, the inhabitants of the islands voted to become a French overseas territory, effective in 1961, thus ending their subordination to New Caledonia.[8]

In 2005, the 50th king, Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, faced being deposed after giving sanctuary to his grandson who was convicted of manslaughter. The king claimed his grandson should be judged by tribal law rather than by the French penal system. There were riots in the streets involving the king's supporters, who were victorious over attempts to replace the king. Two years later, Tomasi Kulimoetoke died on 7 May 2007. The state was in a six-month period of mourning. During this period, mentioning a successor was forbidden.[9] On 25 July 2008, Kapiliele Faupala was installed as king despite protests from some of the royal clans.

Geography[edit]

Map of the territory of Wallis and Futuna
Lake Lalolalo on ʻUvea

Wallis and Futuna is located about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand, at 13°18′S 176°12′W / 13.300°S 176.200°W / -13.300; -176.200Coordinates: 13°18′S 176°12′W / 13.300°S 176.200°W / -13.300; -176.200, (225 mi west of Samoa and 300 mi (480 km) north-east of Fiji).

The territory includes the island of Uvéa (the most populous), the island of Futuna, the essentially uninhabited island of Alofi (the population of Alofi was reportedly eaten by the cannibal people of Futuna in one single raid in the 19th century), and 20 uninhabited islets, totaling 274 square kilometres (106 sq mi) with 129 kilometres (80 mi) of coastline. The highest point in the territory is Mont Puke (on the island of Futuna) at 524 metres (1,719 ft).

The islands have a hot, rainy season from November to April with associated storms caused by the passage of tropical cyclones over the islands. There is a cool, dry season from May to October caused by the predominance of the south-east trade winds during this time. Average annual rainfall is 2,500 to 3,000 millimetres (98–118 in) with rainfall likely on at least 260 days each year. The average humidity is 80% and the average temperature is 26.6 °C (79.9 °F), rarely falling below 24.0 °C (75.2 °F) and ranging between 28.0 °C (82.4 °F) and 32.0 °C (89.6 °F) during the rainy season.

Only five percent of the islands' land area is arable land; permanent crops cover another 20%. Deforestation (only small portions of the original forests remain), largely as a result of the continued use of wood as the main fuel source, is a serious problem; as a consequence of cutting down the forests, the mountainous terrain of Futuna is particularly prone to erosion. There are no permanent settlements on Alofi because of the lack of natural fresh water resources.

The two island groups lie about 260 km apart:

Economy[edit]

The GDP of Wallis and Futuna in 2005 was 188 million US dollars at market exchange rates.[4] The territory's economy is limited to traditional subsistence agriculture, with about 80% of the labor force earning its livelihood from agriculture (coconuts and vegetables), livestock (mostly pigs), and fishing. About 4% of the population is employed in government. Revenues come from French government subsidies, licensing of fishing rights to Japan and South Korea, import taxes, and remittances from expatriate workers in New Caledonia, French Polynesia and France. Industries include copra, handicrafts, fishing, and lumber. In 1991, BNP Nouvelle-Calédonie, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, established a subsidiary, Banque de Wallis et Futuna, which currently is the only bank in the territory. Two years earlier Banque Indosuez had closed the branch at Mata-Utu that it had opened in 1977, leaving the territory without any bank.

Demographics[edit]

Unofficial but commonly used flag

The total population of the territory at the July 2008 census was 13,484 (68.4% on the island of Wallis, 31.6% on the island of Futuna),[3] down from 14,944 at the July 2003 census.[10] The vast majority of the population are of Polynesian ethnicity, with a small minority of Metropolitan French descent and/or native-born whites of French descent. More than 16,000 Wallisians and Futunians live as expatriates in New Caledonia, which is more than the total population of Wallis and Futuna. The overwhelming majority of the people in Wallis and Futuna are Catholic.

Languages[edit]

At the 2008 census, among the population whose age was 14 and older, 60.2% of people reported that the language they speak the most at home is Wallisian, 29.9% reported that the language they speak the most at home is Futunan, and 9.7% reported that the language they speak the most at home is French.[11] On Wallis Island, the languages most spoken at home were Wallisian (86.1%), French (12.1%), and Futunan (1.5%).[11] On Futuna, the languages most spoken at home were Futunan (94.9%), French (4.2%), and Wallisian (0.8%).[11]

At the same 2008 census, 88.5% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write either Wallisian or Futunan, whereas 7.2% reported that they had no knowledge of either Wallisian or Futunan.[11] 78.2% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas 17.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French.[11] On Wallis Island, 81.1% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas 14.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French.[11] On Futuna, 71.6% of people whose age was 14 or older reported that they could speak, read and write French, whereas 24.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French.[11]

Historical population[edit]

1969 1976 1983 1990 1996 2003 2008
8,546 9,192 12,408 13,705 14,166 14,944 13,484
Official figures from past censuses.[3][10]

Culture[edit]

The culture of Wallis and Futuna is Polynesian, and is very similar to the cultures of its neighbouring nations Samoa and Tonga. The Wallisian and Futunan cultures share very similar components in language, dance, cuisine and modes of celebration.

Fishing and agriculture are the traditional practices and most people live in traditional fate houses in an oval shape made of thatch.[12] Kava, as with many Polynesian islands, is a popular beverage brewed in the two islands, and is a traditional offering in rituals.[12] Highly detailed tapa cloth art is a specialty of Wallis and Futuna.[13]

Transport and communications[edit]

In 1994, the territory had 1,125 telephones in use, had one AM radio station, and two television broadcast stations. Communication costs are high, costing up to ten times as much as western countries. The island of Wallis has about 100 kilometres (62 mi) of highway, of which 16 are paved, while the island of Futuna has only 20 kilometres (12 mi), none paved. The territory has two main ports and harbours, Mata-Utu and Leava (on the island of Futuna), that support its merchant marine fleet consisting of three ships (two passenger ships and a petroleum tanker), totaling 92,060 GRT or 45,881 tonnes. There are two airports, one on Wallis with a paved runway of 2.1 kilometres (1.3 mi), and one on Futuna with a 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) unpaved strip. New Caledonia-based Aircalin operates the only commercial flights that go to Wallis, where it has an office in Mata-Utu. There are no commercial boat operators.

Miscellaneous[edit]

The territory's data code and country code (top level Internet domain) is .wf. Currently this is suspended in favor of the .fr and .nc (Nouvelle Calédonie) data code.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b World factbook: Wallis and Futuna
  2. ^ "Kapeliele Faupala crowned new king of Wallis". Radio New Zealand. 25 July 2008. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d (French) INSEE. "Les populations des circonscriptions du Territoire des îles Wallis et Futuna". Government of France. Retrieved 13 January 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c (French) INSEE, CEROM. "L’économie de Wallis-et-Futuna en 2005: Une économie traditionnelle et administrée" (PDF). Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  5. ^ Loi no 61-814 du 29 juillet 1961 conférant aux îles Wallis et Futuna le statut de territoire d'outre-mer (in French).
  6. ^ Wallis and Futuna Rulers.org
  7. ^ p.213 Rottman, Gordon L. U.S. Marine Corps World War II Order of Battle: Ground and Air Units in the Pacific War, 1939-1945 Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002
  8. ^ http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107555.html
  9. ^ BBC News (1 June 2007). "Been and gone – fit for a King". Retrieved 3 June 2007. 
  10. ^ a b Service Territorial de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques. "Recensement de la Population 2003 de Wallis et Futuna: Principaux résultats". Retrieved 13 January 2009. [dead link] (French)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g (French) INSEE, Government of France. "Tableau Pop_06_1 : Population selon le sexe, la connaissance du français et l'âge décennal" (XLS). Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  12. ^ a b Ibpus.com; International Business Publications, USA (1 January 2012). Wallis & Futuna Business Law Handbook: Strategic Information and Laws. Int'l Business Publications. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-1-4387-7141-0. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Hinz, Earl R.; Howard, Jim (2006). Landfalls of Paradise: Cruising Guide to the Pacific Islands. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 220–. ISBN 978-0-8248-3037-3. 

External links[edit]