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Îles Maria or simply Maria, also known as Hull Island,[2] is a small coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Its original name is Nororotu. The nearest island is Rimatara situated 205 kilometres (127 miles) to the ESE.

Îles Maria
Native name:
Îles Maria (ISS013-E-5001).jpg
NASA picture of Îles Maria
Îles Maria is located in French Polynesia
Îles Maria
Îles Maria
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates21°48′S 154°41′W / 21.800°S 154.683°W / -21.800; -154.683Coordinates: 21°48′S 154°41′W / 21.800°S 154.683°W / -21.800; -154.683
Total islands4
Area1.9 km2 (0.73 sq mi)
Overseas collectivityFrench Polynesia
Administrative subdivisionAustrales
PopulationUninhabited[1] (2012)

The atoll consists of four islets (îles), with a dense atoll forest[3] and a very shallow lagoon, supporting numerous bird species.[4] The atoll is uninhabited now, but at one time was the site of a penal colony.[5] Copra is occasionally harvested at the island.[4]

The four islands are:

  1. Île du Sud
  2. Île Centrale
  3. Île de l' Ouest
  4. Île du Nordêt

The Îles Maria should not be confused with Maria Atoll in the Gambier Islands, also in French Polynesia, which is sometimes differentiated with the name "Maria Est" (East).[6] There is also another island once known as Hull Island in the Phoenix Islands, which is now known as Orona.


Another NASA image

According to Polynesian legend, the uninhabited island was discovered by Chief Ama'itera'i of Rurutu in ancient times.[7]:558 It was made a place of exile by King Teuruarii IV and his mother and regent Taarouru.[8]:138 The island was also claimed by the neighboring island kingdom of Rimatara. The territorial dispute wouldn't be settled until 1937, when two of the four atolls were awarded to each party.[9]:108–109 This atoll is named for the whaler Maria, who sighted the island in 1824,[4] It was captained by George Washington Gardner, a Nantucket sea captain (1778-1838).[10]


The atoll Îles Maria is administratively part of Rimatara commune (municipality) in the Tubuai (Austral Islands) division of French Polynesia.


  1. ^ "Population". Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  2. ^ "13. South and Southeast". Vikings of the Sunrise. New Zealand Electronic Text Center. Retrieved 2007-09-06.
  3. ^ "Tubuai tropical moist forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 2007-09-06.
  4. ^ a b c Hilary Rodgers; Tony Wheeler; Jean-Bernard Carillet (2003). Tahiti & French Polynesia. Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74059-229-8.
  5. ^ "Îles Maria". UN Systemwide Earthwatch Site. United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 2007-09-06.
  6. ^ "Tuamotu Archipelago - Maria". Archived from the original on 2010-12-23. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  7. ^ Patrick O'Reilly, ed. (1975). Tahitiens: répertoire bio-bibliographique de la Polynésie Française. Musée de l'Homme. pp. 557–558.
  8. ^ Michel Brun; Edgar Tetahiotupa (2007). Eteroa: mythes, légendes et traditions d'une île polynésienne. Gallimard. ISBN 2070777081.
  9. ^ Pierre Vérin (1964). "Notes socio-économiques sur l'île de Rurutu (Polynésie Française)". In Institut de science économique appliquée l (ed.). Cahiers: Humanités, économie, ethnologie, sociologie, Issue 7. Presses Universitaires de France. pp. 99–133.
  10. ^ Dunmore, John (1992); Who's Who in Pacific Navigation, Australia:Melbourne University Press, ISBN 0-522-84488-X, pp114-115

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