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Introduction

Manihiki is an island in the northern group of the Cook Islands known informally as the "Island of Pearls". It is approximately 1,299 kilometres north of the capital island of Rarotonga, making it one of the most remote inhabitations in the Pacific Ocean. Its name has two possible meanings: It's believed that the original name of the island was Manuhiki, inspired by the aboriginal discovers Manu coming from the word Rua Manu (a kind of canoe) and Hiki meaning ashore, so the literal translation would be canoe carried ashore. The second interpretation is that the original discoverers were from Manihi, an island in Tuamotus, so the name of the island would mean Little Manihi.

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Geography

Manihiki is a roughly triangular-shaped coral atoll, consisting of approximately 43 islets (motu) surrounding a deep, nine kilometer wide lagoon, which is almost completely enclosed by the surrounding reef. The atoll is located on top of an underwater mountain rising 4,000 metres from the ocean floor. The inhabitants are divided between the two main islets of Tauhunu on the west coast (where the government administration is based) and Tukao in the north, (where Manihiki Island Airport is located. Each settlement has a school, churches, stores and a few pickup trucks. The total land area is approximately 4 square kilometres, and population is less than 500 persons.

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Villages

There are two villages: the larger village is Tauhunu which is on the Islet of Tauhunu on the western rim of the atoll. The second village, Tukao and also known in the olden days as Te Matafourua, is at the northern tip of Ngake or Te Paeroa motu, which runs along the northern-eastern side of the atoll. The island is politically controlled by the Island Councils and a Mayor elected every three years by the inhabitants.

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Weather

The Cook Islands have a tropical climate, meaning warm and humid weather year round but with constant sea breezes bringing some relief on the hotter summer days. November to April are summer months when it is around 28 °C during the day on Rarotonga and a bit warmer on Aitutaki which is more to the north. Temperatures at night are usually just 5 °C cooler or so. These months also have the most rain, with some tropical downpours during the afternoon, followed by sunshine again. Sometimes, several rainy days are possible. This is also the time that hurricanes are a possibility, although these don't strike every year of course. Wintermonths are cooler, especially on the most southern islands (around 25 °C during the day) but also drier and sunnier. Aitutaki has smaller differences between summer and winter regarding temperatures and the northern islands even less so.

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Getting There

Flying time to the island by Air Rarotonga takes about three and a half hours, and there is a flight every Thursday from Rarotonga; however, flights are sometimes cancelled due to lack of passengers or lack of fuel at Manihiki.

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Manihiki Travel Helpers

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This is version 1. Last edited at 10:32 on Aug 22, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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