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NASA picture of Manihi Atoll
Manihi is located in French Polynesia
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 14°26′31″S 146°04′19″W / 14.44194°S 146.07194°W / -14.44194; -146.07194
Archipelago Tuamotus
Area 160 km2 (62 sq mi)  (lagoon)
13 km² (above water)
Length 27 km (16.8 mi)
Width 8 km (5 mi)
Highest elevation 9 m (30 ft)
Highest point (unnamed)
Overseas collectivity French Polynesia
Administrative subdivision Tuamotus
Commune Manihi
Largest settlement Paeua
Population 685[1] (as of 2012)
NASA picture of Manihi Atoll.
NASA picture of Manihi Atoll.
Location of Manihi in the Tuamotu Archipelago
Location of Manihi in the Tuamotu Archipelago
Coordinates: 14°26′31″S 146°04′19″W / 14.442°S 146.072°W / -14.442; -146.072Coordinates: 14°26′31″S 146°04′19″W / 14.442°S 146.072°W / -14.442; -146.072
Country France
Overseas collectivity French Polynesia
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Jeannot Mataoa
Area 25 km2 (10 sq mi)
Population (2012)1 1,237
 • Density 49/km2 (130/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 98727 / 98771
1 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Manihi, or Paeua,[2] is a coral atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago, part of French Polynesia. It is one of the northernmost of the Tuamotus, located in the King George subgroup. The closest land to Manihi is Ahe Atoll, located 14 km to the west. The total population is 685 inhabitants.


View of the lagoon.

Manihi is a relatively large elongated atoll. Its oval-shaped lagoon measures 27 km in length and 8 km in width, and is ringed by innumerable islets. The lagoon is well-known among snorkelers for its beautiful and diverse marine fauna, including, among other species, the manta ray. There is only one pass to enter the lagoon, located close to the atoll's southern end. It is known as Passe de Tairapa. 14°27′31″S 146°03′40″W / 14.4585°S 146.0610°W / -14.4585; -146.0610

The chief village is Paeua. Another important village, Turipaoa, is located in the south-western part of the atoll, and is home to about 400 inhabitants. Several of the islands are inhabited, by populations ranging from single individuals to as many as 400.


Change in population of Manihi atoll.

1977 1983 1988 1996 2002 2007 2012
192 313 429 769 789 816 685
Sources ISPF,[3] Mairie de Manihi[4]
* : estimation


There are two ancient Polynesian ceremonial platforms constructed of blocks of coral (marae in Tuamotuan) on Manihi. The first recorded Europeans to arrive to Manihi were Dutch explorers Jacob le Maire and Willem Schouten on their 1615–1616 Pacific journey. They called this atoll "Waterland Island". British explorer John Byron, who reached Manihi in June 1765, called the atoll "Prince of Wales Island".


Manihi Atoll is today home to a great number of pearl farms, and is the original home of the highly prized Polynesian black pearls.[citation needed]

There is now a five star resort on Manihi, called the Pearl Beach Manihi resort, which has overwater bungalows in the lagoon.

There is one airfield on the atoll, inaugurated in 1994: Manihi Airport. It is located close to Turipaoa and is served by the local airline Air Tahiti.


Village of Turipaoa.

The atoll is the chef-lieu of the commune of Manihi which consists of the atolls of Manihi and Ahe. The current mayor of the commune is Jeannot Mataoa (mandate: 2008–2014).[5]


  1. ^ "Population". Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française. Retrieved 6 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. ^ ISPF, Démographie
  4. ^ Mairie de Manihi,
  5. ^ Les Communes (in French) Publisher: Ministère du logement, de l'aménagement du Territoire de la Polynésie Française. Accessed 21 February 2010

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