Futuna Island, Vanuatu

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Futuna
Geography
Location South Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 19°32′S 170°13′E / 19.533°S 170.217°E / -19.533; 170.217Coordinates: 19°32′S 170°13′E / 19.533°S 170.217°E / -19.533; 170.217
Archipelago Vanuatu
Area 11 km2 (4.2 sq mi)
Highest elevation 666 m (2,185 ft)
Highest point Tatafou
Administration
Province Tafea Province
Largest settlement Imounga
Demographics
Population 532 (2009)
Ethnic groups Melanesians

Futuna is an island in the Tafea province of Vanuatu. It is the easternmost island in the country.

Geography[edit]

Futuna island

It was formed by the uplift of an underwater volcano, which last erupted in the Pleistocene, at least 11,000 years ago. It reaches a height of 666 m. It is sometimes called West Futuna to distinguish it from Futuna Island, Wallis and Futuna, and also can be known Erronan by its island neighbour, Tanna. Although it is part of the Melanesian country of Vanuatu it is considered to be a Polynesian outlier.

History[edit]

Futuna is sometimes said to be the 'Gateway' to the gospel in Vanuatu, the first island where it's inhabitants accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ. During the late 1800s several missionaries lived on this island for the purpose of preaching the gospel to the natives, and in coordination with missionaries living on other neighbouring islands tried to introduce western living and influence for improvement of the well being of its people. Notable missionaries that have lived on this island are Rev. Joseph Copeland, and medical doctor John William Gunn.

Rev. Joseph Copeland had lived on the island for 10 years, from 1866, before he moved on to Tanna. Dr. William Gunn had lived on the island from 1883-1917. He is more well known to the local Futunese, as he had made a bigger impact to the establishments of churches around the island, and had brought many to be converted and baptised. He has also made significant contributions to the translation of bible and hymns[1] from English to the Futunese language, and documented many Futunese customs and cultural practices in his book "The Gospel in Futuna[2]".

Population[edit]

The island has a population of 535 according to the 2009 census.[3] There are currently 5 main villages on Futuna Island:

  • Iasoa
  • Ipao
  • Matangi (Consists of Iraro, Marae, Itavai and Iakana)
  • Ihsia
  • Imounga

The main village is Imounga, in the northwest. Ipao, in the northeast, is just west of the airport. The island has ten regions: Iraro, Itapapa, Itapasiesi, Matangi, Matowei, Nabao, Nariari, Rakaoroa, Serinao, and Tchinaroa.

The island also have several Futunese diaspora communities living in other islands such as main island Efate, Tanna, Aneityum and Espiritu Santo.

Transportation[edit]

The island is served by its only domestic airport, Futuna Airport.

Education[edit]

The island has a school located in the village of Ihsia. Previously known as Ihsia Secondary School, the school changed its name in 2015 to Edward Nipake Natapei Memorial School[4] in honor of famous politician, Edward Nipake Natapei.

The school offers education from Year 1 to Year 7 as part of its primary school education; and Year 8 to Year 10 as part of its secondary.

Music[edit]

The inhabitants of the island have a style of hymn singing, established by 19th century missionaries, which is distinctive among Pacific islands.[5] Futuna has a rich history in 'kastom songs', traditional songs that have been passed down from generation to generation. These songs may contain stories of real persons, events or myths.

There are also several Gospel Music group that have made successful releases into the Pacific music industry. Some of the notable music groups and solo artists are:

  • Fatuana Mahtua
  • Fatumanu
  • Transformation Singers[6]

Notable people[edit]

The following is a list of notable people residents of or born in Futuna:

See also[edit]

References[edit]