Tamana, Kiribati

Tamana (also Rotcher Island) is the smallest island in the Gilbert Islands. It is accessible both by boat and by air with Air Kiribati and Coral Sun Airways (once a week; Tamana Airport code: TMN). 1,054 people live in Tamana (2020 census).

Tamana Island.svg
Map of Tamana
Tamana is located in Kiribati
Tamana is located in Micronesia
Tamana is located in Oceania
Tamana is located in Pacific Ocean
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates2°30′S 175°59′E / 2.500°S 175.983°E / -2.500; 175.983Coordinates: 2°30′S 175°59′E / 2.500°S 175.983°E / -2.500; 175.983
ArchipelagoGilbert Islands
Population1,054 (2020 Census)
Ethnic groupsI-Kiribati 100%

Tamana is the second southernmost island in the Gilbert group and the smallest inhabited island in Kiribati. The island is approximately 6 km (4 mi) in length, 1 km (0.6 mi) at its widest point, and has a total land area of 4.73 km2 (1.83 sq mi).[1] Tamana is a reef island with no lagoon.

The Island Council is located at Bakaakaa, the central village of the island and this is also where the rest of the Government facilities are located such as the CB radio for inter-island communication, the hardware store, and the fuel depot. The schools (Primary and JSS) and the Medical facilities are also located in the same village.[1]

Myths and legendsEdit

The name Tamana is understood to mean ‘his/her father’; although in some myths it is understood to mean ‘a stronghold or strong place, or original settlement’.[2][Note 1]


In 1606, Spanish explorers became the first Europeans to discover the island.[5]

Tamana in September 1942 was the southernmost island touched by the Japanese occupation of the Gilbert Islands but Japanese troops did not occupy the atoll.

Tamana Post Office opened around 1915.[6]


  1. ^ Sir Arthur Grimble, cadet administrative officer in the Gilberts from 1914 and resident commissioner of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony from 1926, recorded the myths and oral traditions of the Kiribati people. He wrote the best-sellers A Pattern of Islands (London, John Murray 1952,[3] and Return to the Islands (1957), which was republished by Eland, London in 2011, ISBN 978-1-906011-45-1. He also wrote Tungaru Traditions: writings on the atoll culture of the Gilbert Islands, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1989, ISBN 0-8248-1217-4.[4]


  1. ^ a b "17. Tamana" (PDF). Office of Te Beretitent - Republic of Kiribati Island Report Series. 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  2. ^ Dr Temakei Tebano & others (March 2008). "Island/atoll climate change profiles - Tamana Island". Office of Te Beretitent - Republic of Kiribati Island Report Series for KAP II (Phase 2). Archived from the original on November 6, 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  3. ^ Grimble, Arthur (1981). A Pattern of Islands. Penguin Travel Library. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-009517-9.
  4. ^ Grimble, Arthur (1989). Tungaru traditions: writings on the atoll culture of the Gilbert Islands. Penguin Travel Library. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-1217-1.
  5. ^ "Tamana Island". Kiribati for Travellers. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  6. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 5 July 2013.