The Shepherd Islands (coordinates Coordinates: ) are a group of islands lying between the larger islands of Epi and Éfaté, in the Shefa province of Vanuatu. The aggregate land area is 88 square kilometres (34 square miles). They were named by Captain Cook after Anthony Shepherd, a British astronomer and friend of Cook.
From north to south, the principal islands are: Laika, Tongoa (Kuwaé), Buninga (Mbining), Ewose, Falea, Tongariki (Atong), Émaé (Mai), Makura (Emwae), Mataso (Matah), and Monument (Étarik). Émaé and Tongoa are the largest islands in the group.
The region includes two submarine volcanoes, Kuwae and Makura. The islands are principally in the outlines of the calderas of these volcanoes. The highest of the islands is Émaé, at 644 metres (2,113 feet) above sea level, Tongariki is also above 500 metres (1,640 feet).
At the 2009 census the population numbered 3634. The Shepherd Islands are quite densely populated. There is little economic activity although fishing is very good. Many people move to Port Vila to find work.
Most of the islands are inhabited by Melanesians like most of Vanuatu, but Émaé and Makura are Polynesian outliers. Other than Emae, on which is spoken a Futunic language, there are, according to Ethnologue , two languages spoken on the other islands: North Éfaté, spoken on Tongoa; and Namakura, spoken on Mataso, Makura, Tongoa, and Tongariki. These are all also spoken on the island of Éfaté, and are closely related to one another and the other languages of Éfaté and central Vanuatu in the language group Central Vanuatu languages.
Ambrym is a volcanic island in Malampa Province in the archipelago of Vanuatu. Volcanic activity on the island includes lava lakes in two craters near the summit.
Shefa is one of the six provinces of Vanuatu, located in the center of the country and including the islands of Epi and Efate and the Shepherd Islands.
Emae is an island in the Shepherd Islands, Shefa, Vanuatu.
The Southern Oceanic languages are a linkage of Oceanic spoken in Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It was proposed by Lynch, Ross, and Crowley in 2002 and supported by later studies. They consider it to be a linkage rather than a language group with a clearly defined internal nested structure.
North Efate, also known as Nakanamanga or Nguna, is an Oceanic language spoken on the northern area of Efate in Vanuatu, as well as on a number of islands off the northern coast. Efate Island is an island in the center of Vanuatu, where North Efate subsists of a region that encompasses the regions bordered by Tuktuk Point in the South and Samoan point in the north. The influx of missionaries was characteristic of a change in indigenous perspectives where much of the traditions were destroyed or altered. Vanuatu has some of the highest language densities in the world. The population of speakers is recorded to be 9,500.
Kuwae is a submarine caldera between the Epi and Tongoa islands in Vanuatu. Kuwae Caldera cuts through the flank of the Tavani Ruru volcano on Epi and the northwestern end of Tongoa.
Emae is a Polynesian outlier language of Vanuatu.
Pélé Island, sometimes spelled Pele in English, is a volcanic island located 11,2 miles north of the island of Éfaté in the Shefa Province of the Republic of Vanuatu. It has a total area of 1.7 square miles, Pélé is inhabited by about 200-220 Ni-Vanuatu villagers residing in the four villages: Worsiviu, Worearu, Piliura, and Launamoa. Pélé Island is a part of the MPA Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area, which was established in 2003, and is a popular Vanuatuan diving location. The Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area covers a total area of 11.5 sq. mi., including numerous reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove forests and intertidal lagoons. The Nguna-Pele Marine Protection Agency is located in the village of Piliura, and mounts an exhibition and sells T-shirts. Income from tourism is distributed by the Village Tourism Committee and supports aims as village water supply projects. The island can be visited daily by boat from the Paonangisu area by the town of Emua on Éfaté's north coast. There are also yachts available both from Emua and Nguna for day and overnight charters to the island. The island is nearly adjacent to the island of Nguna, with a small passage no deeper than 33 yards separating the two. It has a tropical climate and has a maximum elevation of 650 feet at its highest. Much of the island is extremely steep and rocks prevent you from walking along the coastline around the island. White sandy beaches are found in Piliura, Worearu, Laonamoa, and Sake. Overpopulation has led to a steady migration from Pele villages to southern Nguna in recent times.
Mataso is an island in the Shefa of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. The island is a part of Shepherd Islands archipelago.
Makura Island is a small inhabited island in Shefa Province of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. Makura is a part of the Shepherds Islands archipelago.
Tongoa Island is an inhabited island in Shefa Province of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean.
Buninga Island is an inhabited island in Shefa Province of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. The island is a part of Shepherd Islands archipelago.
Tongariki Island is an inhabited island in Shefa Province of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. The island is a part of Shepherd Islands archipelago.
Ewose is a small uninhabited island in the Shefa Province of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean.
Falea is a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean, a part of the Shepherd Islands archipelago in the Shefa Province of Vanuatu.
Wot Rock is a small uninhabited islet in the Pacific Ocean, a part of the Shepherd Islands archipelago in the Shefa Province of Vanuatu. Wot is located close to Emae Island.
Laika is a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean, a part of the Shepherd Islands archipelago in the Shefa Province of Vanuatu.
Tefala is a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean, belonging to the Shefa Province of Vanuatu.
Fatumiala is a small island in the Pacific Ocean, a part of the Shefa Province of Vanuatu.
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