The village named Agonoko is located near the main bay on the island's eastern shore. With a remaining population of three (census of 2002), it is almost abandoned. Former villages were Aga-nui (northwest) and Agakau-i-uta (southeast).
The Onemea archaeological site suggests sporadic occupation of the island around AD 950 with a possible continuous settlement since the 13th century.
Before the conversion to Christianity, the king of Taravai was a vassal to the king of Rikitea in Mangareva.