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Reef Island
NASA Landsat visible color image
NASA Landsat visible color image
Nanumanga is located in Tuvalu
Location in Tuvalu
Coordinates: 06°20′S 176°25′E / 6.333°S 176.417°E / -6.333; 176.417Coordinates: 06°20′S 176°25′E / 6.333°S 176.417°E / -6.333; 176.417
Country Tuvalu
 • Total 3 km2 (1 sq mi)
Population (2012)
 • Total 481
 • Density 160/km2 (420/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Nanumangan
ISO 3166 code TV-NMG

Nanumanga or Nanumaga is a reef island and a district of the Oceanian island nation of Tuvalu.[1][2] It has a surface area of about 3 km² with a population of 481 (2012 census).[3]


On 9 May 1824 a French government expedition under Captain Louis Isidore Duperrey of the ship La Coquille sighted Nanumaga.[4]

Louis Becke, who later became a writer, became the resident trader for the Liverpool firm of John S. de Wolf and Co. on Nanumaga from about April 1880 until the trading-station was destroyed later that year in a cyclone.[5][6] Becke later wrote The Rangers of the Tia Kau[7] that describes a shark attack at the Tia Kau reef between Nanumea and Nanumaga.

The population of Nanumaga from 1860–1900 is estimated to be between 300[8] to 335 people.[9]

Nanumaga Post Office opened around 1925.[10]

In 1986 it became a centre of debate when Pacific archaeologists discovered the submerged Caves of Nanumanga, and found what they argued was the remains of fire created by pre-historic inhabitants.


There are three lagoons, the largest, Vaiatoa, having four islands. There are mangrove trees, native broadleaf forest and coconut palms. The island has an oval outline, with the longer axis oriented north-south. A fringing reef surrounds the whole island, which makes local fishing and transport into and out of the island difficult.

In March 2015 Nanumaga suffered damage to houses, crops and infrastructure as the result of storm surges caused by Cyclone Pam; 60-100 houses were flooded and the health facility suffered damage.[11][12]


  • Cape on the north: Te Kaupapa
  • Cape on the south: Te Papa


At the 2012 census the population of the villages was:[3]

  • Tokelau with 245 people;
  • Toga, also spelled Tonga with 236 people.

The junior school is Lotohoni Primary School.


There are a few paths.


Nanumanga is one of the eight constituencies in Tuvalu, and elects two Members of Parliament. Following the 2015 general election, Monise Lafai and Otinielu Tausi were returned to parliament. In the previous parliament Tausi had been elected as the speaker of the parliament on 3 March 2014.[13] He had returned to parliament as a result of the Nanumaga by-election, 2014.[14]

2015 election results[edit]

The Tuvaluan general election, 2015 was held on 31 March.[15][16]

Nanumaga constituency results
Party Candidate Votes %
Non-partisan Monise Lafai* Symbol confirmed.svg 315 36
Non-partisan Otinielu Tausi* Symbol confirmed.svg 327 37
Non-partisan Lutelu Faavae 242 27

Notable local people[edit]

Otinielu Tausi served as the speaker of the Parliament of Tuvalu from 2003 until 2006, then again from March 2014 onward, and been the deputy prime minister of Tuvalu.

Tuau Lapua Lapua is a Tuvaluan Olympic weightlifter. At the 2013 Pacific Mini Games, Tuau Lapua Lapua won Tuvalu's first ever gold medal in major sporting competition in the men's 62 kilogram snatch. (He also won bronze in the clean and jerk, and obtained the silver medal overall for the combined event.)


  1. ^ "Map of Nanumaga (Nanumanga)". Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  2. ^ British Admiralty Nautical Chart 766 Ellice Islands (1893 ed.). United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO). 21 March 1872. 
  3. ^ a b "Population of communities in Tuvalu". Thomas Brinkhoff. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Keith S. Chambers & Doug Munro, The Mystery of Gran Cocal: European Discovery and Mis-Discovery in Tuvalu, 89(2) (1980) The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 167–198
  5. ^ A. Grove Day (1967). Louis Becke. Melbourne: Hill of Content. pp. 30–34. 
  6. ^ 'Louis Beck, Adventurer and Writer', Chapter 8, Rascals in Paradise, James A. Michener and Arthur Grove Day, Secker and Warburg (1957)
  7. ^
  8. ^ Richard Bedford, Barrie Macdonald & Doug Monro, Population Estimates for Kiribati and Tuvalu (1980) 89(1) J. of the Polynesian Society 199
  9. ^ W.F. Newton, The Early Population of the Ellice Islands, 76(2) (1967) The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 197–204.
  10. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Tuvalu: Tropical Cyclone Pam Situation Report No. 2 (as of 30 March 2015)". Relief Web. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Tuvalu situation update: Securing health from disastrous impacts of cyclone Pam in Tuvalu". Relief Web/World health Organisation – Western Pacific Region. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  13. ^ Matau, Robert (4 March 2014). "Tuvalu's new speaker". Islands Business. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "Tuvalu by-election sees former speaker win seat". Radio New Zealand. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Election looks set to return Sopoaga as Tuvalu's PM". Radio New Zealand. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  16. ^ "Tuvalu National Election 2015 Results (Nanumaga)". Fenui News. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.