Ra Island

Last updated
Native name:
Mota Lava.jpg
The islet of Rah is located at the southwest point of the bigger island Mota Lava.
Womtelo Map-Banks-Vanuatu 1000.png
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 13°42′58″S167°37′48″E / 13.71611°S 167.63000°E / -13.71611; 167.63000 Coordinates: 13°42′58″S167°37′48″E / 13.71611°S 167.63000°E / -13.71611; 167.63000
Archipelago Vanuatu, Banks Islands
Area0.5 [1]  km2 (0.19 sq mi)
Province Torba Province
Population189 (2009)

Rah or Ra is a small coral islet of 0.5 km2 (0.19 sq mi), located in the Banks group of northern Vanuatu. [2] The same name also refers to the single village which is situated within this islet. There are massive rocks on the island. [3]


The islet of Rah is situated off the larger island of Mota Lava. Access to Rah is done in two ways: at low tide, by wading across the narrow strait from the mainland; at high tide, by outrigger canoe.


The islet is known in English, and Bislama, as Rah [ra] . This name reflects a shortened version of the form Rao (IPA:  [rao] ), which is the way the islet is called in the neighbouring language Mota. The island has also been called Ara.

In the islanders' own language Mwotlap, the islet of Rah is called Aya (IPA:  [aˈja] ). [4]

The letter h in the English spelling Rah does not represent anything in the actual name.


The 2009 census figures [5] give a population of 189 inhabitants. A 2015 estimate puts the population of the island at 224 people, with 42 households. [6]

Related Research Articles

Torba Province

Torba is the northernmost province of Vanuatu. It consists of the Banks Islands and the Torres Islands.

Torres Islands

The Torres Islands are in the Torba Province of Vanuatu, the northernmost island group in the country. The chain of islands that make up this micro-archipelago straddle the broader cultural boundary that distinguishes Island Melanesia from several Polynesian outliers located in the neighbouring Solomon Islands. To the north is Temotu Province of the Solomon Islands, to the south Espiritu Santo, and to the southeast the Banks Islands. To the west, in the ocean, is the deep Torres Trench, the subduction zone between the Australian and Pacific Plates.

Banks Islands

The Banks Islands are a group of islands in northern Vanuatu. Together with the Torres Islands to their northwest, they make up the northernmost province of Torba. The island group lies about 40 km (25 mi) north of Maewo, and includes Gaua and Vanua Lava, two of the 13 largest islands in Vanuatu. In 2009, the islands had a population of 8,533. The island group’s combined land area is 780 km².

Vanua Lava

Vanua Lava is the second largest of the Banks Islands in Torba Province, Vanuatu, after slightly larger Gaua.

Mwotlap is an Oceanic language spoken by about 2,100 people in Vanuatu. The majority of speakers are found on the island of Motalava in the Banks Islands, with smaller communities in the islands of Ra and Vanua Lava, as well as migrant groups in the two main cities of the country, Santo and Port Vila.

Mota Lava

Mota Lava or Motalava is an island of the Banks group, in the north of Vanuatu. It forms a single coral system with the small island of Ra.

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Vot Tande Island in Torba Province, Vanuatu

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Rowa Islands

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Tongoa Island is an inhabited island in Shefa Province of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean.

Lamen Island

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  1. "Vanuatu". Haos Blong Volkeno. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  2. "Mota Lava and Ra, escape to the Banks Islands". Positive Earth. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  3. "Torba Province". Vanuate Travel. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  4. Entry “Aya” in A. FrançoisOnline Mwotlap dictionary.
  5. "2009 National Census of Population and Housing: Summary Release" (PDF). Vanuatu National Statistics Office. 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  6. Vanuatu National Statistics Office. (17–18 March 2015). "2015 Vanuatu National Population and Households Projections by Province and islands". Retrieved 12 October 2020.