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NASA picture of Arutua Atoll
Arutua is located in French Polynesia
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates15°14′43″S 146°36′43″W / 15.24528°S 146.61194°W / -15.24528; -146.61194
Area484 km2 (187 sq mi)  (lagoon)
15 km2 (6 sq mi) (above water)
Length31 km (19.3 mi)
Width24 km (14.9 mi)
Overseas collectivityFrench Polynesia
Administrative subdivisionÎles Tuamotu-Gambier
Largest settlementRautini
Population680[1] (2012)
Location of Arutua in the Tuamotu Archipelago
Location of Arutua in the Tuamotu Archipelago
Location of Arutua
Coordinates: 15°14′43″S 146°36′44″W / 15.245236°S 146.612086°W / -15.245236; -146.612086Coordinates: 15°14′43″S 146°36′44″W / 15.245236°S 146.612086°W / -15.245236; -146.612086
Overseas collectivityFrench Polynesia
SubdivisionÎles Tuamotu-Gambier
46.0 km2 (17.8 sq mi)
 • Density36/km2 (94/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−10:00
INSEE/Postal code
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Arutua, or Ngaru-atua[2] is an atoll in the Tuamotu group in French Polynesia. It is located 40 km SW of Rangiroa. The closest land is Apataki Atoll, only 16 km to the East.

Arutua Atoll has a roughly pentagonal shape. Length 31 km (19 mi) , width 24 km (15 mi) . The lagoon area is 484 km2 (187 sq mi) and the land area is 15 km2 (6 sq mi). Its lagoon is wide and deep with one navigable passage. As of 2012, Arutua had a population of 680 inhabitants. The main village is Rautini. There is a small airport at Arutua which was opened in 1984.

Geographically Arutua belongs to the Palliser Islands (Îles Palliser) subgroup of the Tuamotus.


The first recorded European to visit Arutua Atoll was Jakob Roggeveen (who also first sighted Easter Island) in 1722. British mariner Frederick Beechey touched at Arutua in 1826. He named this atoll "Cockburn Island".


This atoll is part of the commune of Arutua, which consists of Arutua, as well as the atolls of Apataki and Kaukura.[3] The seat of the commune is the vilage Rautini.[3] The commune is in the administrative subdivision of the Îles Tuamotu-Gambier.[4]


Island Population
(2017 census)[5]
Area (km²)[6] Area of lagoon (km²)
Apataki 442 20.0 706
Arutua 808 15.0 484
Kaukura 414 11.0 434
TOTAL 1664 46.0 1624

Table 1. Current population.

Island 2007 2012 2017
Apataki 495 350 442
Arutua 725 680 808
Kaukura 541 475 414
TOTAL 1761 1505 1664

Table 2. Population over time.

Images and maps[edit]


  1. ^ "Population". Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  2. ^ Young, J.L. (1899). "Names of the Paumotu Islands, with the old names so far as they are known". Journal of the Polynesian Society. 8 (4): 264–268. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b Décret n°72-407 du 17 mai 1972 portant création de communes dans le territoire de la Polynésie française, Légifrance
  4. ^ Décret n° 2005-1611 du 20 décembre 2005 pris pour l'application du statut d'autonomie de la Polynésie française, Légifrance
  5. ^ Répartition de la population en Polynésie française en 2017, Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française
  6. ^ "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.

External links[edit]