Joséphine G. House

Hiva Oa Island

Situation géographique de Hiva Oa

The Marquesas archipelago, Fenua Enata in southern Marquesan or Henua Enana in northern Marquesan, or "The Land of Men", is located about 1500km north-east of Tahiti.

We estimated that the first Polynesians invested in the archipelago around - 150 B.C., before colonizing the Hawaiian archipelago and Easter Island.

This is the Spanish Alvaro de Mendaña who approached them in 1595 by Fatu Hiva and Tahuata. He gave them the name of the Marquesas in honour of the Viceroy's wife of Peru, Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza, Marquis of Cañete. The archipelago will be integrated with the French Establishments of Oceania in 1842.

These volcanic islands are divided into two distinct groups :

The northern group, with Nuku Hiva (administrative center of the Marquesas), Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Hatu Iti, Eiao, Hatutaa and Motu One

The Southern group, with Hiva Oa, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva, Moho Tani (Motane) and Fatu Huku

Numbers of Marquesan artists perpetuate ancestral art with sculptures that are among the most beautiful in the Pacific and these islands have unique fauna and flora, with many endemic species.

Hiva Oa is the main Island of the southern group of the Marquis archipelago whose centre is the village of Atuona. With its 320km², the Island is the third largest in Polynesia after Tahiti and Nuku Hiva.
It is also the base for maritime connections to two other inhabited Island in the southern group: Tahuata and Fatu Hiva.

Carte de Hiva Oa

Hiva Oa is baptised the “garden of the Marquesas” because of its fertile and luxurious soil. As far as the eye can see, the wildlife stretches across: green, beautiful and bright.

Roads are uncommon, the houses as well. The islands damaged relief mixes the sharp peaks, peaks and valleys dotted with archaeological sites where one finds, among others, the greatest Tikis of Polynesia.

The island is full of black sand beaches and steep cliffs that plunge into the plentiful waters of the Pacific. Beyond its sky-scraping peaks, at the foot of which is enshrined Atuona, the islands main village, Hiva Oa keeps the memories of its previous famous guests, the painter Paul Gauguin and the singer Jacques Brel who rest in the Hiva Oa cemetery.

Useful Information’s
    Time Zone : GMT -0930 (Tahiti is at GMT -10)

    Currency : Franc Pacifique XPF (1€ = 119,332 XPF)

    Inhabitant Number : 2190 (2012)

    Surface area : ~ 320 km²