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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; -146.883Coordinates: 15°39′S 146°53′W / 15.650°S 146.883°W / -15.650; -146.883
Archipelago Tuamotus
Area 434 km2 (168 sq mi)  (lagoon)
11 km² (above water)
Length 47 km (29.2 mi)
Width 13 km (8.1 mi)
Overseas collectivity French Polynesia
Administrative subdivision Tuamotus
Commune Arutua
Largest settlement Raitahiti
Population 475[1] (as of 2012)
Map of Kaukura Atoll.

Kaukura or Kaheko[2] 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 47km and a maximum width of 13km. 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 434km2 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 475 inhabitants as of 2012; 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.[3]

Formerly fishing was the main occupation of Kaukura's islanders. But presently tourism has replaced the traditional activities as a source of income.[4]

There is a small airport at Kaukura which was opened in 1994.[5]


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population". Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Young, J.L. (1899). "Names of the Paumotu Islands, with the old names so far as they are known.". Journal of the Polynesian Society 8 (4): 264–268. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  3. ^ History
  4. ^ Tahiti Traveller - Kaukura
  5. ^ Kaukura Airport

External links[edit]