Ua Pou

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Location of the commune (in red) within the Marquesas Islands
Location of the commune (in red) within the Marquesas Islands
Location of Ua-Pou
Coordinates: 9°24′00″S 140°04′00″W / 9.40°S 140.0667°W / -9.40; -140.0667Coordinates: 9°24′00″S 140°04′00″W / 9.40°S 140.0667°W / -9.40; -140.0667
Overseas collectivityFrench Polynesia
SubdivisionÎles Marquises
 • Mayor (2014-2020) Joseph Kaiha
105.6 km2 (40.8 sq mi)
 • Density21/km2 (54/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−09:30
INSEE/Postal code
98757 /98745
Elevation0–1,230 m (0–4,035 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Ua Pou (French: Ua Pou, North Marquesan: ’uapou)[1] is the third largest of the Marquesas Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is located about 50 km (30 mi.) south of Nuku Hiva, in the northern Marquesas. Until the beginning of the 1980s, it was the most populous of the Marquesas Islands, because when the other islands were being ravaged by diseases introduced by European explorers and traders, the Catholic priests on the island finally took to quarantining the remnant of the native population inside their churches whenever visiting ships approached the island, thereby reducing their exposure to external diseases.

The center of the island is characterized by four high basalt pillars that reach high above the surrounding mountains. The highest of these pillars, Mount Oave (Mont Oave), reaches to 1,230 m (4,040 ft) above sea level and is the highest elevation in the Marquesas.

The island covers an area of 105.6 square kilometres (41 square miles),[2] and is located just northwest of the small island of Motu Oa. Its population was 2,213 at the 2017 census.[3] The largest settlement is Hakahau, on Hakahau Bay, on the northeast coast.


Administratively Ua Pou forms the commune (municipality) of Ua-Pou, part of the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands.[4] This commune consists solely of the island of Ua Pou[5] and its offshore rocks. Ua-Pou consists of the following associated communes:[5]

The administrative center of the commune is the settlement of Hakahau,[5] located within the associated commune of Hakahau, on the north-eastern shore of the island.


Historical population


Ua Pou is the only major island that was unified under a single monarch prior to the arrival of European explorers.

Prior to the island's unification, reportedly about 1585, there is evidence that the tribes of Ua Pou were sometimes united in war with the tribes of Te I'i on Nuku Hiva against those of Tai Pi Vai. Despite the fact that tribes from both the eastern and western halves of Ua Pou were often united in war against each other, however, it appears that such differences among them were not considered when members of tribes from either side of the island sought refuge among the tribes of Te I'i on Nuku Hiva.



  1. ^ La toponymie des îles Marquises
  2. ^ "R1- Population sans doubles comptes, des subdivisions, communes et communes associées de Polynésie française, de 1971 à 1996". Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  3. ^ Répartition de la population en Polynésie française en 2017, Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française
  4. ^ Décret n° 2005-1611 du 20 décembre 2005 pris pour l'application du statut d'autonomie de la Polynésie française, Légifrance
  5. ^ a b c Décret n°72-407 du 17 mai 1972 portant création de communes dans le territoire de la Polynésie française, Légifrance