The Info List - Vavaʻu

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is the island group of one large island (ʻUtu Vavaʻu) and 40 smaller ones in Tonga. It is part of Vavaʻu
which includes several other individual islands. According to tradition the Maui god fished up both Tongatapu
and Vavaʻu
but put a little more effort into the former. Vavaʻu
rises 204 metres (669 ft) above sea level at Mount Talau. The capital is Neiafu, which is the fifth largest city in Tonga, situated at the Port of Refuge (Puatalefusi or Lolo-ʻa-Halaevalu).


1 History

1.1 Myths and legends 1.2 Recorded history

2 Geography

2.1 Climate

3 Governors 4 Economy 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

History[edit] Myths and legends[edit] In Polynesia
it is explained that the islands were created by the god Maui, who caught the bottom of the sea with his magic hook, fished up and left on the sea surface what became the islands of Vavaʻu. In total there are 70 islands, of which 17 are inhabited, spread over six districts. Recorded history[edit] Don Francisco Mourelle de la Rúa, commanding Spanish frigate Princesa was the first European to come to Vavaʻu, on 4 March 1781. He charted Vava'u as Martín de Mayorga
Martín de Mayorga
who was the Viceroy
of New Spain
at the time.[1] Captain James Cook
James Cook
knew about the islands a decade before, but the people in Haʻapai
told him it would be no good for him to go there as there was no harbour. Apparently they did not want him to go there, and Cook heeded their advice anyway. But Mourelle found excellent anchoring, of which he was in desperate need after having failed on Fonualei (Bitterness island) and Late, and he gave the spot the name Port of Refuge. But his original Port of Refuge was the bay on the west coast of the main island, near Longomapu. In 1793 Alessandro Malaspina
Alessandro Malaspina
visited for a month, following up on Mourelle and claiming the islands for Spain. Tuʻi Tonga
George Tupou I
George Tupou I
instituted the Vavaʻu Code in Vavaʻu
in 1839. Geography[edit] The Vavaʻu
group measures about 21 km from east to west and 25 km from north to south. Vavaʻu
had 14,922 inhabitants at the 2001 census, of which 4,051 lives in the capital Neiafu.[2] The islands in Vavaʻu
outside of Vavaʻu
Group are uninhabited. The main island of ’Utu Vava’u is 97 square kilometres (37 sq mi), the second largest island in Tonga. Vava'u is a coral reef with superior oblique in the north up to 200 metres (660 ft) high cliffs. On the south side of the island group, it is dissolved into many small islands and waterways. The largest of these waterways, the fjord-like Ava Pulepulekai channel extends 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) inland from the harbor of Neiafu, the capital. ’Utu Vava’u island is a raised platform of coral cliffs on the north coast and a low and irregular coastline south that opens in a complex network of channels, bays and islands forming one of the best protected natural harbors in the Pacific. ’Utu Vava’u is also home to the ʻEneʻio Botanical Garden, Tonga's only botanical garden.

Neiafu church

Neiafu (left) and Fungamisi (centre) at the Port of Refuge

Vaipūua bridge

Neiafu Market

Climate[edit] Vavaʻu
has a much warmer climate than the rest of Tonga
except the Niuas, a group of islands furthest to the north. Because of the island's warm climate and fertile soil, Vavaʻu
is a haven for vanilla and pineapple growers as well as other tropical fruits. Governors[edit]

Hon. Fulivai – The Noble Fulivai was appointed as Governor of Vavaʻu
in July 2011. Hon. Sione Laumanuʻuli Luani was Governor until he died suddenly on 12 May 2010.[3] Hon. Samisoni Fonomanu Tu'i'afitu was appointed Acting Governor of Vavaʻu
in 1988 and then Governor of Vavaʻu
in 1991. He died on 4 October 2005. HRH Fatafehi Tuʻipelehake
Fatafehi Tuʻipelehake
was Governor from 1952 until 1965. Hon. ʻAkauʻola Siosateki Tonga
Veikune Faletau was Governor from 1936 until 1939 before becoming Minister of Police from 1939 until 1952.[4] HRH Viliami Tungī Mailefihi
Viliami Tungī Mailefihi
was Governor from 1912 until 1918.


Whale watching
Whale watching
in Vava'u

Due to its scenic beauty Vavaʻu
is particularly popular with sailors and other tourists and is one of the most important tourism sites in Tonga. From May to October, the Port of ’Utu Vava’u welcomes sailing boats from all over the world to dive with birthing humpback whales and explore underwater caves. Tourism, agriculture and fishing are the main sources of income of the population. The vanilla grown here is considered one of the best in the world. Moreover, even giant clams and pearls are cultured. See also[edit]

2006 Tonga


^ Landin Carrasco, Amancio Mourelle de la Rúa, explorador del Pacífico Madrid, 1971, p.79. ^ "Table G3: Population growth by division, district and village (2006-2011)". Tonga
Department of Statistics. Retrieved 21 February 2016.  ^ Noble Luani dies suddenly in Vava'u ^ ['Akau'ola Siosateki Tonga
Veikune Faletau]

Further reading[edit]

Gerstle, Donna (1973). Gentle People: Into the Heart of Vavaʻu, Kingdom of Tonga: 1781–1973. San Diego: Tofua Press. OCLC 800856. 

External links[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Vava'u.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vava'u.

http://www.vavau.to a web portal service for the Vava’u Island group of Tonga

v t e

Divisions of Tonga

ʻEua Haʻapai Niuas Tonga