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Introduction

Rakahanga is part of the Cook Islands, situated in the central-southern Pacific Ocean. The unspoilt atoll is 1,248 kilometres from the Cook Islands' capital, Rarotonga, and lies 1,111 kilometres south of the equator. Its nearest neighbour is Manihiki which is just 44 kilometres away. Rakahanga's population is 127, and its area is 4 square kilometres.

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Geography

There are four main islands and seven motus or islets in the Rakahanga lagoon. The northern island is divided into three: Tetukono in the north and northeast, Tetaha Kiraro in the west, and Paerangi in the southwest; while the southern island is Rakahanga. The motus are: on the east, Te Motu o Umurua, Akaro, Motu Ngangie, Huananui, Motu Mahuta and Motu Okakara; while on the southwest side the islet of Te Kainga guards the widest passage into the lagoon. The island is just over 4 square kilometres in size and is so low lying that it is in serious danger from rising sea levels.

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Villages

The only village, Matara, also called Rakahanga, seat of the Rakahanga Island Council, is on the northwest side of the southern islet, Rakahanga.
A newer, official source lists five villages, which might represent the lineages living in the same village: Purapoto, Niteiri, Numahanga, Teruakiore and Matara (main settlement).

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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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This is version 1. Last edited at 10:39 on Aug 22, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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