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NASA picture of Nukutavake Atoll
Nukutavake is located in French Polynesia
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 19°16′S 138°46′W / 19.267°S 138.767°W / -19.267; -138.767
Archipelago Tuamotus
Total islands 4
Area 5.5 km2 (2.1 sq mi)
Length 5 km (3.1 mi)
Width 0.45 - 1.3 km (-0.528 mi)
Overseas collectivity  French Polynesia
Administrative subdivision Tuamotus
Commune Nukutavake
Largest city Tavananui
Population 139 (as of 2002)
Location of Nukutavake in the Tuamotu Archipelago
Location of Nukutavake in the Tuamotu Archipelago
Coordinates: 19°17′11″S 138°47′49″W / 19.2863°S 138.797°W / -19.2863; -138.797Coordinates: 19°17′11″S 138°47′49″W / 19.2863°S 138.797°W / -19.2863; -138.797
Country France
Overseas collectivity French Polynesia
 • Land 13 km2 (5 sq mi)
Population (2002)
 • Population1 334
 • Population1 density 26/km2 (67/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 98732
1 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Nukutavake or Nukutuvake is an island in the Tuamotu group in French Polynesia. It lies 1,125 kilometres (699 mi) from Tahiti. The closest land is small Pinaki Atoll, located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the southeast. Vairaatea Atoll lies 38 kilometres (24 mi) to the west of Nukutavake.

Nukutavake's length is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) and its width between 0.45 kilometres (0.28 mi) and 1.3 kilometres (0.81 mi). Nukutuvake is not a typical Tuamotu atoll, but a single island. It was formed when its lagoon filled up with silt, in a similar manner as Fua Mulaku in the Maldives, which has a similar size and shape. There are shallow remains of the lagoon filled with marshy vegetation. The higher ground has many coconut palms.

Nukutavake has 139 inhabitants; Tavananui is the largest town. Many islanders have left the island in recent years, mainly to Tahiti, in search for work. There are a number of abandoned houses on the island. The people who remain live primarily on fish and copra production. There is a cyclone shelter on Nukutavake


The first recorded European who arrived to Nukutavake was Englishman Samuel Wallis in 1767. He named it "Queen Charlotte Island" (Reine Charlotte). Wallis observed that the island was inhabited and well-stocked with coconut trees. But Captain Frederick Beechey, who visited Nukutavake in 1826, found it with no population and without the trees. It is likely that the early inhabitants experienced a ``mini-apocalypse```, and came to a horrific end.


Geographically this island is part of the East-central subgroup of the Tuamotus, which includes Ahunui, Amanu, Fangatau, Hao and Nukutavake.

The commune of Nukutavake includes four other islands apart from Nukutavake itself:

Island Population (2002 census) Area (km²) Area of lagoon (km²) Postcode
Nukutavake 139 5.5 0 98773
Vahitahi 103 2.5 7.4 98788
Vairaatea 36 3 13 98791
Pinaki 0 1.3 0.7 -
Akiaki 0 1.2 0 -
TOTAL 334 13 - -


The island is served by the Nukutavake Airport (IATA: NUKICAO: NTGW).


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