Music of the Austral Islands

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The Austral Islands are part of the territory of French Polynesia. The music of the islands is similar to the music of other Polynesian islands. The largest of the Austral Islands is Tubuai, which is known for its ancient, atonal singing style, said to be the purest representation of pre-contact Polynesian music in French Polynesia. [1]

Austral Islands archipelago

The Tuha'a Pae, or Austral Islands, are the southernmost group of islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the South Pacific. Geographically, they consist of two separate archipelagos, namely in the northwest the Tupua'i islands consisting of the Îles Maria, Rimatara, Rūrutu, Tupua'i Island proper and Ra'ivāvae, and in the southeast the Bass Islands composed of the main island of Rapa Iti and the small Marotiri. Inhabitants of the islands are known for their pandanus fiber weaving skills. The islands of Maria and Marotiri are not suitable for sustained habitation. Several of the islands have uninhabited islets or rocks off their coastlines. Austral Islands' population is about 6,300 on almost 150 km2 (58 sq mi). The capital of the Austral Islands administrative subdivision is Tupua'i.

French Polynesia French overseas country in the Southern Pacific ocean

French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic and the only overseas country of France. It is composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) in the South Pacific Ocean. Its total land area is 4,167 square kilometres (1,609 sq mi).

Tubuai Commune in French Polynesia, France

Tubuai or Tupua'i is the main island of the Tubuai Island group, located at 23°23′00″S149°27′00″W, 640 km (400 mi) south of Tahiti. In addition to Tubuai, the group of islands include Rimatara, Rurutu, Raivavae and the uninhabited Îles Maria. They are part of the Austral Islands in the far southwest of French Polynesia in the south Pacific Ocean. Tubuai island sustains a population of 2,217 people on 45 km² of land. Due to its southerly position, Tubuai has notably cooler weather than Tahiti.

The Encyclopædia Britannica has reported a carving, found on Raivavae, which depicts dancers alternating with rows of crescents, sometimes said to represent the distinctive skirts of the dancers. This carving style is used on traditional drums, as well as on houses and tapa . [2]

Raivavae Commune in French Polynesia, France

Raivavae is an island that is part of the Austral Islands in French Polynesia. The total land area including offshore islets is 17.9 km2 (6.9 sq mi). At the 2017 census it had a population of 903. The island is of volcanic origin, and rises to 437 metres (1,434 ft) elevation at Mont Hiro.

Tapa cloth is a barkcloth made in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, primarily in Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, but as far afield as Niue, Cook Islands, Futuna, Solomon Islands, Java, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Hawaii. In French Polynesia it has nearly disappeared, except for some villages in the Marquesas.

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Pacific Islander indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands

Pacific Islanders or Pasifikas, are the peoples of the Pacific Islands. It is a geographic and often ethnic/racial term to describe the inhabitants of any of the three major sub-regions of Oceania: Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. These people speak various Austronesian languages. New Zealand has the largest concentration of Pacific Islanders in the world. However, the majority of its people are not identified as Pacific Islanders—instead during the 20th century and into the 21st century the country saw a steady stream of immigration from Polynesian countries such as Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Niue and French Polynesia.

Polynesia is a group of island chains spread across much of the Pacific Ocean, and includes many countries and territories. Internationally, Polynesian music is mostly associated with twinkling guitars, grass skirts and beautiful relaxing sounds, Hawaiian hula and other tourist-friendly forms of music. While these elements are justifiably a part of Polynesian history and Polynesian culture, there is actually a wide variety of music made in the far-flung reaches of Polynesia.

Polynesians are an ethnolinguistic group of closely related peoples who are native to Polynesia, an expansive region of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. They are part of the larger Austronesian ethnolinguistic group who trace their urheimat to Southeast Asia. They speak the Polynesian languages, a branch of the Oceanic subfamily of the Austronesian language family.

Flag of French Polynesia flag

The flag of French Polynesia is the state flag of the French overseas collectivity French Polynesia. It was adopted in 1984.

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The Rapa Nui are the aboriginal Polynesian inhabitants of Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean. The easternmost Polynesian culture, the descendants of the original people of Rapa Nui make up about 60% of the current Rapa Nui population and have a significant portion of their population residing in mainland Chile. They speak both the traditional Rapa Nui language and the primary language of Chile, Spanish. At the 2002 census there were 3,304 island inhabitants—almost all living in the village of Hanga Roa on the sheltered west coast.

Air Tahiti is a French airline company which operates in French Polynesia, France. Its principal base is Faa'a International Airport.

Polynesian culture the culture of the indigenous people of the Polynesian islands.

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Oceanian art

Oceanic art or Oceanian art comprises the creative works made by the native people of the Pacific Islands and Australia, including areas as far apart as Hawaii and Easter Island. Specifically it comprises the works of the two groups of people who settled the area, though during two different periods. They would in time however, come to interact and together reach even more remote islands. The area is often broken down into four separate regions: Polynesia, Micronesia, Australasia, and Melanesia. The former two share a common ancestral culture of the Lapita, while the latter two comprise settlers of the first wave of people into the area. All of the regions in later times would be greatly affected by western influence and colonization. In more recent times, the people of Oceania have found a greater appreciation of their region's artistic heritage.

Austral is an endangered Polynesian language that is spoken by approximately 8,000 people (1987). It is spoken only on the Austral Islands and the Society Islands of French Polynesia. The language is also referred to as Tubuai-Rurutu, Tubuai, Rurutu-Tupuai, or Tupuai. In structure, it is similarly compared to Tahitian.

Îles Maria archipelago in French Polynesia

Îles Maria or simply Maria, also known as Hull Island, is a small coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Its original name is Nororotu. The nearest island is Rimatara situated 205 kilometres to the ESE.

Glochidion raivavense, also known by its synonym Phyllanthus raivavense or by the local name mahame on the island of Tubuai, is a species of plant in the Phyllanthaceae family. It is endemic to the Austral Islands in French Polynesia, where it is native to the islands of Rurutu, Tubuai, and Raivavae.

Maria Est island in French Polynesia

Maria Atoll is an uninhabited small atoll of the Tuamotu group in French Polynesia. It is located in the far southeast of the archipelago, about 72 km (45 mi) southwest from Marutea Sud. Maria's closest neighbour is the small atoll of Matureivavao of the Acteon Group, 56 km (35 mi) to the northwest.

Index of French Polynesia-related articles Wikimedia list article

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Cyclone Wasa–Arthur

Severe Tropical Cyclone Wasa–Arthur was the first major tropical cyclone to affect French Polynesia and Tahiti since the 1982–83 season. The system was first noted on December 3, 1991 as a shallow tropical depression that was embedded within the monsoon trough, to the north of the Cook Island: Rarotonga. Over the next couple of days the system gradually developed further, before it was classified as a tropical cyclone and named Wasa during December 5. The system gradually strengthened further and acquired hurricane-force winds on December 6, as it performed a small clockwise loop. After completing the loop, Wasa moved southwards before it peaked in intensity during December 8, with sustained wind speeds of 165 km/h (105 mph). Over the next few days the system started to weaken as it passed through the French Polynesian Society Islands, and became the first major tropical cyclone to affect French Polynesia since 1983.

Robert Bollt was an American archaeologist, specializing in Pacific Archaeology.

Flag of the Austral Islands

The Flag of the Austral Islands is the flag of the Austral Islands of French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean administered by France.



  1. Traveling in French Polynesia
  2. Oceanic art and architecture: The Austral (Tubuai) Islands