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Introduction

Abaiang is an island in the Polynesian country of Kiribati. Right next door to the capital, Tarawa, is famous for having pristine beaches and a sparkling blue lagoon. It's also home to the two most famous resorts in Kiribati, Ouba Islet Resort and Teirio Beach Resort.

A good glimpse of one of it very beautiful and white sandy beaches can also be seen when looking at the island’s direction from the north end tip of South Tarawa. It is in Abaiang that you can see historical landmarks made by the white colonizers of the island, a Negro cannibal who landed on Abaiang in the early days and founders of Protestant Church in Kiribati. Abaiang is also known to all as a house of the first church in Kiribati and also has a distinction of being one of the cradles of Christianity and schools both of Protestants and Catholics in the Kiribati group. Other visible attractions include shrines, well of high chief of Abaiang in the early days and sites of pioneers of the island. With a wide range of historical and cultural cultural attractions seen, the only home for two famous resorts in Kiribati and its closeness to the capital, Abaiang is considered one the marvellous and convenient laid-back hideaways in Kiribati.

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History

The history of Abaiang Island started with the belief that ancestors living on it were known to be spirits, some of them created in Samoa and some in Abaiang. Years passed by and then real people came along followed then by the arrival of Reverend Dr. Bingham and his team, international traders, beachcombers, whalers and even labour traders. Colonizers then came along too and hoisted Union Jack on the island.

The first church in Kiribati also established on Abaiang Island in 1859 by Reverend Dr Hiram Bingham and his team. Reverend Dr. Bingham, his wife and his team were sent from America in 1856 to set up a mission in Kiribati. Their arrival in Abaiang was coincided with a war between Ten Temaua and Ten Teiwaki. Reverend Bingham and his team stayed with Ten Temaua. Ten Teiwaki took immediate fancy for Mrs. Bingham and announced that he will take her as his wife only if he won the war but unfortunately, he lost it. Their arrival on Abaiang also marked the important era in the establishment of the first Protestant Church in Kiribati.

In a traditional context of Abaiang Island, it was a paramount chief who ruled and provided overall leadership of the island in the past. Following independence of Kiribati, the overall leadership of Abaiang changed whereby the Mayor (formerly Chief Councilor) and the elderly men are now playing the role of providing political leadership for the island. Abaiang island still values the importance of family and respect of the elderly, guest hospitality, cultural practices and coming together under the maneaba (traditional meeting house) to socialise and feast.

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Geography

Abaiang Island has a total land area of 16 square kilometres and an estimated distance of about 37 kilometres from north to south. The main government centre is located at Taburao village. The island also serves as a home for two secondary schools, each of them owned either by Roman Catholic Church or Kiribati Protestant Church.

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Events and Festivals

New Year’s Day

Kiribati is the first country in the world to welcome in the New Year, albeit at the Line Islands, and events go off nationwide. All bars and guesthouses have something going on, along with traditional celebrations at the local maneaba (meeting house).

Independence Day

This is the main event on the Kiribati social calendar, celebrating the day the Gilbert Islands gained independence from Great Britain in July of 1979. Though the holiday officially takes place on July 12, the festivities last for several days, starting around the 9th. South Tarawa sees most of the action, including obligatory canoe races, kite-flying and traditional dance, along with wrestling, rugby and other sports ventures.

Youth Day

August 4 sees the forward-thinking government focus its energy on the Kiribati youth, with the promise of better opportunities through various workshops and programs. Churches and meeting houses see most activity.

Christmas

Locals attend church followed by much eating, gift-giving and merriment, just like they do back home. In Kiribati, however, there’s also choir singing, dancing, canoe racing, and a myriad of other sports right up until New Year. Locals also go camping in Taiwan Park and visit nearby islands.

New Year’s Eve

A huge event in Kiribati due to its position in the world, this island nation is the first place to countdown the New Year. There are low-key parties on the beaches and in the towns, while all expat bars and guesthouses put on special events.

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Weather

Abaiang enjoys a pleasantly warm, but humid tropical climate. Daytime temperatures hoover around 30 °C yearround with little variation throughout the year. Nights are still pleasantly warm and generally above 20 °C. The wetter period lasts from December to May and concentrates more on the northern part of the island chain. Trade winds blow from March to October. The most pleasant time, weatherwise, is from May to September. Tropical storms can hit the islands during the wet season, but are rarely a reason not to visit the islands during this time, although the humidity and heath combined with the absence of tradewinds from December to March makes this a slightly less pleasant time to visit.

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Getting There

By Plane

Air Kiribati flies to/from Marakei and Tarawa.

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Eat/Drink

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Safety and Respect

Facilities and services are limited and the island is remote in nature. You will need flexibility in your plans to allow for instances where there may be transport delays. It is highly recommended that you take additional supplies of drinking water. Medical facilities are limited on the islands to a local clinic and village nurse. Pharmaceuticals are not available and you will to ensure you have any medications you may require and basic medical supplies. Please also ensure you have advised family and friends of your travel plans and when you expect to return.

It is important to that, as a sign of respect, you will need to leave offerings at any shrines you visit. Tobacco/cigarettes are the traditional offering. If you are interested in participating in any cultural activity please have it arranged prior your travel or you can ask around the local people and they are usually most obliging.

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Keep Connected

Communications while on the island may be limited; however some villages will have a public phone.

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Abaiang Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Abaiang

This is version 3. Last edited at 8:21 on May 22, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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