Hao (French Polynesia)
NASA picture of Hao Atoll
|Area||720 km2 (278 sq mi)
65 km² (above water)
|Length||50 km (31 mi)|
|Width||14 km (8.7 mi)|
|Highest elevation||3 m (10 ft)|
|Population||1342 (as of 2007)|
|Overseas collectivity||French Polynesia|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Suzanne Merehau|
|• Land||65 km2 (25 sq mi)|
|• Population1 Density||28/km2 (73/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||98720 / 98767|
|Elevation||0–3 m (0–9.8 ft)|
|1 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.|
Hao is located 920 km (575 mi.) to the east of Tahiti. It is 50 km (31.1 mi) long and 14 km (8.70 mi) wide. The lagoon is the 4th largest atoll in French Polynesia (after Rangiroa, Fakarava and Makemo) and has only one navigable passage, at Kaki, on the north end of the atoll where strong currents prevail up to 20 knots with bores. The lagoon covers an area of 720 km2.
The climate is maritime, with temperatures oscillating between 23 and 32°C throughout the year.
In the late 1980s, two French intelligence (DGSE) operatives were briefly confined to the military base on the island after France obtained their release from a New Zealand prison for sinking the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior. Their earlier-than-agreed-upon repatriation from the island by the French government became a diplomatic incident between New Zealand and France.
Hao's military airfield, now known as Hao Airport, was transferred to the civilian authorities in the year 2000. This airport (IATA: HOI, ICAO: NTTO) serves many of the smaller eastern Tuamotus, whose landing strips are too short to land aircraft large enough to make the flight to Tahiti.
The economic future of the atoll remains in question: the military base, which was the support base for the nuclear testing on the nearby Mururoa atoll, was permanently shut down in 2002, along with its many support facilities, including the electrical and desalinization plants and the hospital. The livelihood of many of the atoll's inhabitants was directly tied to the military base activity.
Hao forms the commune of Hao (Main village: Otepa), which also includes Ahunui (uninhabited), Nengonengo, Manuhangi (uninhabited) and Paraoa (uninhabited). As of the 2002 census, the atoll's total population was 1,613.
|Atoll||Population (2002)||Area (km²)|
|Anuanuraro (Duke of Gloucester Islands)||0||18|
|Anuanurunga (Duke of Gloucester Islands)||0||7|
|Nukutepipi (Duke of Gloucester Islands)||0||1|
- Kelly, Celsus, O.F.M. La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo. The Journal of Fray Martín de Munilla O.F.M. and other documents relating to the Voyage of Pedro Fernández de Quirós to the South Sea (1605-1606) and the Franciscan Missionary Plan (1617-1627) Cambridge, 1966, p.39,62.
- History of Hao Atoll
- Classification of the French Polynesian atolls by Salvat (1985)
- Atoll list (in French)