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Commune of Ua-Pou

Location of the commune (in red) within the Marquesas Islands
Country France
Overseas community French Polynesia
Administrative subdivision Marquesas Islands
Commune centre Hakahau
Mayor Joseph Kaiha
Elevation 0–1,230 m (0–4,000 ft)
Land area 106 km2 (41 sq mi)
Population1 2,157  (August 2007 census)
 - Density 20 /km2 (52 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 98757/ 98745
1 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Ua Pu (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 (French: Mont Oave), reaches to 1,230 m (4,035 ft.) above sea level and is the highest elevation in the Marquesas.

The island covers an area of 106 km (41 sq. mi.), and is located just northwest of the small island of Motu ‘Oa. The population in 2007 was 2,157. The largest settlement is Hakahau, on Hakahau Bay, on the northeast coast.


Administratively Ua Pu forms the commune (municipality) of Ua-Pou, part of the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands. This commune consists solely of the island of Ua Pu and its offshore rocks. It is subdivided into two associated communes: Hakahau and Hakamaii.

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


Ua Pu 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 Pu were sometimes united in war with the tribes of Te I'i on Nuku Hiva against those of Tai Pi. Despite the fact that tribes from both the eastern and western halves of Ua Pu 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.

View of Hakahau from the sea


  1. ^ La toponymie des îles Marquises

Coordinates: 9°25′S 140°05′W / 9.417°S 140.083°W / -9.417; -140.083



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