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NASA picture of Kaukura Atoll
Kaukura is located in French Polynesia
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 15°39′S 146°53′W / 15.650°S 146.883°W / -15.650; -146.883
Archipelago Tuamotu archipelago
Area 436 km2 (168 sq mi) (lagoon)
11 km² (above water)
Length 48 km (29.8 mi)
Width 15 km (9.3 mi)
Commune Arutua
Largest city Raitahiti
Population 542 (as of 2007)
Ethnic groups French Polynesian

Coordinates: 15°39′S 146°53′W / 15.650°S 146.883°W / -15.650; -146.883

Map of Kaukura Atoll.

Kaukura is an atoll in the Tuamotu group in French Polynesia, 48km long and 15km wide. It is located in the western area of the archipelago, 58km SW of Rangiroa. The closest land is Arutua Atoll, only 16km to the East.

Kaukura Atoll is elongated, with a length of 46km and a maximum width of 14km. The northern reef rim is narrow, while the southern is broad. There are two groups of 65 islets. The surface of Kaukura's lagoon is 436km2 and the land area 11km². It has only one navigable pass cutting through the reef.

The most important island is Motu Panao, located in the Northwest of the Atoll. Kaukura has 542 inhabitants as of 2007; the main village is Raitahiti.

Geographically Kaukura belongs to the Palliser Islands (Îles Palliser) subgroup of the Tuamotus.


The first recorded European to arrive to Kaukura was Dutch Navigator Jakob Roggeveen on his expedition for the Dutch West India Company to seek Terra Australis in 1722.[1]

Formerly fishing was the main occupation of Kaukura's islanders. But presently tourism has replaced the traditional activities as a source of income.[2]

There is a small airport at Kaukura which was opened in 1994.[3]


Kaukura belongs to the commune of Arutua. The commune of Arutua consists of Arutua, as well as the atolls of Apataki and Kaukura.

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