Matureivavao, or Maturei-vavao[2] is an uninhabited atoll in the Acteon Group in the southeastern part of the Tuamotu Islands. It is the largest atoll within the Acteon Group, and like others in this group, is administratively part of the commune of the Gambier Islands.

NASA picture of Matureivavao Atoll
Matureivavao is located in French Polynesia
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates21°29′S 136°25′W / 21.483°S 136.417°W / -21.483; -136.417Coordinates: 21°29′S 136°25′W / 21.483°S 136.417°W / -21.483; -136.417
Area18 km2 (6.9 sq mi)  (lagoon)
2.5 km2 (1 sq mi) (above water)
Length6.6 km (4.1 mi)
Width4.6 km (2.86 mi)
Overseas collectivityFrench Polynesia
Administrative subdivisionTuamotus
CommuneGambier Islands
PopulationUninhabited[1] (2012)
Map of Matureivavao Atoll.


Matureivavao is about 6.6 km (4.1 mi) long in a NNW-SSE direction and 4.6 km (2.9 mi) wide. It has a land area of 2.5 km2 (1.0 sq mi) and a lagoon area of 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi). It lies 16 km (10 mi) southeast of Tenarunga and 1,390 km (860 mi) from Tahiti. The atoll is high enough to be visible from a considerable distance. It appears as a sandy beach, backed by a line of dark green. In bad weather, the seas sometimes sweep over the reef. There is no entrance to the lagoon.

In some maps, this atoll also appears as "Melbourne".


The first recorded sighting of this atoll was made during the Spanish expedition of the Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernández de Quirós on 5 February 1606 under the name Las Cuatro Coronadas (the "four crowned" (by coconut palms)),[3][4] however, these observations were not fully documented. As such, the first unambiguous approach to the island was made on 14 March 1828 by the explorer Hugh Cuming in his ship Discoverer captained by Samuel Grimwood. The next sighting was in 1833 by navigator Thomas Ebrill on his merchant vessel Amphitrite and again in 1837 by Lord Edward Russell, commander of HMS Actaeon, the name given to the group.[5] It was previously owned by a man named Captain Nicholas but was redeemed in 1934.[6]

Flora and faunaEdit

After the hurricane in 1983, Matureivavao was entirely replanted with thousands of coconut trees.[7] The atoll is home to a variety of Amaranthaceae including the genus Achyranthes aspera var. velutina.[8] It is also one of the few atolls in which rats were never introduced.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Population". Institut de la statistique de la Polynésie française. Retrieved 9 October 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Young, J.L. (1899). "Names of the Paumotu Islands, with the old names so far as they are known". Journal of the Polynesian Society. 8 (4): 264–268. Retrieved 7 January 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Explorations The American Geographical Society, New York, 1967, p.136.
  4. ^ Kelly, Celsus, O.F.M. La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo. The Journal of Fray Martín de Munilla O.F.M. and other documents relating to the Voyage of Pedro Fernández de Quirós to the South Sea (1605–1606) and the Franciscan Missionary Plan (1617–1627) Cambridge, 1966, p.39,62.
  5. ^ Pacific Island: Eastern-Pacific – Geographical handbook series, James Wightman Davidson and Naval Intelligence Division, editions Naval Intelligence Division, 1945, p.224.
  6. ^ Archaeology of Mangareva and neighboring atolls by Kenneth Pike Emory, editions Kraus, 1971, pp.58–60.
  7. ^ Dahl, prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas ; in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme ; based on the work of Arthur Lyon (1986). Review of the protected areas system in Oceania (Sept. 1986. ed.). Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. ISBN 9782880325091.
  8. ^ Florence, Jacques (2004). Flore de la Polynésie française (Reimpr. ed.). Paris: IRD Ed. [u.a.] ISBN 9782709915434.
  • Sailing Directions, Pub 126, "Pacific Islands" NIMA 2002; page-12

External linksEdit