Wallis and Futuna

Wallis and Futuna, officially the Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands[3] (/ˈwɒlɪs ...fˈtnə/; French: Wallis-et-Futuna [walis.e.futuna] or Territoire des îles Wallis-et-Futuna, Fakauvea and Fakafutuna: ʻUvea mo Futuna) is a French island collectivity in the South Pacific, situated between Tuvalu to the northwest, Fiji to the southwest, Tonga to the southeast, Samoa to the east, and Tokelau to the northeast.

Wallis and Futuna
Wallis-et-Futuna  (French)
ʻUvea mo Futuna (Wallisian and Futunan)
Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands
Territoire des îles Wallis-et-Futuna  (French)
Telituale o ʻUvea mo Futuna (Wallisian and Futunan)
"Liberté, égalité, fraternité" (French) (English: "Liberty, equality, fraternity")
Anthem: "La Marseillaise"
Location of Wallis and Futuna
Location of Wallis and Futuna
Sovereign stateFrance
Protectorate over Wallis5 April 1887
Protectorate over Alo and Sigave16 February 1888
Separation from New Caledonia29 July 1961
Current status28 March 2003
and largest city
13°17′S 176°11′W / 13.283°S 176.183°W / -13.283; -176.183
Official languagesFrench
Common languages
  • Wallisian
  • Futunan
GovernmentDevolved parliamentary dependency
Emmanuel Macron
Hervé Jonathan
Atoloto Kolokilagi
• King of Uvea
Patalione Kanimoa
• King of Alo
Lino Leleivai
• King of Sigave
Eufenio Takala
LegislatureTerritorial Assembly
French Parliament
• Senate
1 senator (of 377)
1 seat (of 577)
• Total
142.42 km2 (54.99 sq mi)
• Water (%)
Highest elevation
524 m (1,719 ft)
• 2018[1] census
11,558 (not ranked)
• Density
83.55/km2 (216.4/sq mi) (not ranked)
GDP (nominal)2005 estimate
• Total
$188 million[2]
• Per capita
CurrencyCFP franc (XPF)
Time zoneUTC+12:00
Driving sideright
Calling code+681
ISO 3166 code
Internet TLD.wf

Mata Utu is its capital and largest city. Its land area is 142.42 km2 (54.99 sq mi). It had a population of 11,558 at the 2018 census (down from 14,944 at the 2003 census).[1][4] The territory is made up of three main volcanic tropical islands and a number of tiny islets. It is divided into two island groups that lie about 260 km (160 mi) apart: the Wallis Islands (also known as Uvea) in the northeast; and the Hoorn Islands (also known as the Futuna Islands) in the southwest, including Futuna Island proper and the mostly uninhabited Alofi Island.

Since 28 March 2003, Wallis and Futuna has been a French overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer, or COM).[5] Between 1961 and 2003, it had the status of a French overseas territory (territoire d'outre-mer, or TOM). Its official name did not change when its status changed.


Drawing of Wallis Island by Captain Samuel Wallis in 1767
Coastal view of Wallis island by Captain James Cook in 1773
Ruins of the Talietumu fort

Early humansEdit

The earliest signs of human habitation in these islands are artifacts characteristic of the Lapita culture, dating roughly to between 850 and 800 BCE. The islands served as natural stopover points for boat traffic going between Fiji and Samoa. During Tongan invasions in the 15th and 16th centuries, the islands showed varying levels of resistance and accepted varying degrees of assimilation: Futuna retained more of its pre-Tongan cultural features, while Wallis underwent greater fundamental changes in its society, language, and culture.[6] The original inhabitants built forts and other identifiable structures on the islands, many of which are in ruins, but some of which are still partially intact. Oral history and archaeological evidence suggest that the Tongan invaders reoccupied and modified some of these structures. Oral history also preserves a cultural memory of relationships between Samoa and Futuna that are so longstanding that they are described in the islanders' origin stories.[6]

European settlementsEdit

Futuna was first put on European maps by Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire during their circumnavigation of the globe in 1616. They named the islands of Futuna "Hoornse Eylanden" after the Dutch town of Hoorn where they hailed from. This was later translated into French as "Isles de Horne." The Wallis Islands are named after the British explorer Samuel Wallis, who sailed past them in 1767 after being the first European to visit Tahiti.[7][8] The French were the first Europeans to settle in the territory,[9] with the arrival of French missionaries in 1837, who converted the population to Roman Catholicism. Pierre Chanel, canonized in 1954, is a major patron saint of the island of Futuna and of the region.

On 5 April 1842, the missionaries asked for the protection of France after the rebellion of a part of the local population. On 5 April 1887, the queen of Uvea (that is, of the traditional chiefdom that comprised the island of Wallis) signed a treaty officially establishing a French protectorate. The kings of Sigave and Alo on the islands of Futuna and Alofi also signed a treaty establishing a French protectorate, on 16 February 1888. At that point, the islands were put under the authority of the French colony of New Caledonia.

In 1917, the three traditional kingdoms of Uvea, Sigave, and Alo were annexed by France and integrated into the colony of Wallis and Futuna, which remained under the authority of the colony of New Caledonia.[citation needed]

World War IIEdit

During World War II, the islands' administration was briefly pro-Vichy until a Free French corvette from New Caledonia deposed the regime on 26 May 1942. Units of the US Marine Corps later landed on Wallis on 29 May 1942.[10]

Overseas territoryEdit

In 1959, the inhabitants of the islands voted to become a separate French overseas territory, effective since 29 July 1961,[5] thus ending their subordination to New Caledonia.[11]

In 2005, the 50th king of Uvea, Tomasi Kulimoetoke II, faced being deposed after giving sanctuary to his grandson who was convicted of manslaughter. The king claimed his grandson should be judged by tribal law rather than by the French penal system. As a result, there were riots in the streets involving the king's supporters, who were victorious over attempts to replace the king. Two years later, Tomasi Kulimoetoke died on 7 May 2007. The state was in a six-month period of mourning, during which mentioning a successor was forbidden.[12] On 25 July 2008, Kapiliele Faupala was installed as king despite protests from some of the royal clans. He was deposed in 2014. A new king, Patalione Kanimoa, was eventually installed in Uvea in 2016; Lino Leleivai in Alo on Futuna succeeded after Filipo Katoa had abdicated, and Eufenio Takala succeeded Polikalepo Kolivai in Sigave. The French president at the time, François Hollande, attended the installation ceremony.

Governance and lawEdit

The territory is divided into three traditional kingdoms (royaumes coutumiers): Uvea, on the island of Wallis, Sigave, on the western part of the island of Futuna, and Alo, on the eastern part of the island of Futuna and on the uninhabited island of Alofi (only Uvea is further subdivided, into three districts):

Capital Area
2003 census
2018 census
Wallis Island
Uvea (Wallis) Matāʻutu 77.5 10,071 8,333 -17.3% 21
Hihifo ("west") Vaitupu 23.4 2,422 1,942 -19.8% 5
Hahake ("east") Matāʻutu 27.8 3,950 3,415 -13.5% 6
Mu'a ("first") Mala'efo'ou (2) 26.3 3,699 2,976 -19.5% 10
Sigave (Singave) Leava 16.75 1,880 1,275 -32.2% 6
Alo Mala'e 47.5 2,993 1,950 -34.8% 9
Total Futuna Leava 64.25 4,873 3,225 -33.8% 15
Overall total Matāʻutu 142.42 14,944 11,558 -22.7% 36
  • (1) referred to the villages with municipal status
  • (2) formerly called Mua
  • (3) Alofi is virtually uninhabited; administratively it falls under Alo

The capital of the collectivity is Matāʻutu on the island of Uvéa, the most populous of the Wallis Islands. As an overseas collectivity of France, it is governed under the French constitution of 28 September 1958, and has universal suffrage for those over 18 years of age. The French president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; the high administrator is appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the Territorial Government and the Territorial Assembly are elected by the members of the assembly.

As of 2021, the head of state is President Emmanuel Macron of France, as represented by Administrator-Superior Thierry Queffelec.[13] The president of the Territorial Assembly has been Petelo Hanisi since 11 December 2013.[14] The Council of the Territory consists of three kings (monarchs of the three pre-colonial kingdoms) and three members appointed by the high administrator on the advice of the Territorial Assembly.

The legislative branch consists of the unicameral 20-member Territorial Assembly or Assemblée territoriale. Its members are elected by popular vote, and serve five-year terms. Wallis and Futuna elects one senator to the French Senate and one deputy to the French National Assembly.

Criminal justice is generally governed by French law and administered by a tribunal of first resort in Mata-Utu; appeals from that tribunal are decided by the Court of Appeal in Nouméa, New Caledonia. However, in non-criminal cases (civil-law disputes), the three traditional kingdoms administer justice according to customary law.

The territory participates in the Franc Zone, and is both a permanent member of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and an observer at the Pacific Islands Forum.


Location map of Wallis and Futuna in relation to France.
Map of the territory of Wallis and Futuna
Aerial view of Wallis Island (Uvea)

Wallis and Futuna is located about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. It is 13°18′S 176°12′W / 13.300°S 176.200°W / -13.300; -176.200Coordinates: 13°18′S 176°12′W / 13.300°S 176.200°W / -13.300; -176.200, 360 km (220 mi) west of Samoa and 480 km (300 mi) northeast of Fiji.

The territory includes the island of Uvéa (also called Wallis), which is the most populous; the island of Futuna; the virtually uninhabited island of Alofi; and 20 uninhabited islets. The total area of the territory is 274 square kilometres (106 sq mi), with 129 kilometres (80 mi) of coastline. The highest point in the territory is Mont Puke, on the island of Futuna, at 524 metres (1,719 ft).

The islands have a hot, rainy season from November to April, when tropical cyclones passing over them cause storms. Then they have a cool, dry season from May to October, caused by the southeast trade winds that predominate during those months. The average annual rainfall is between 2,500 and 3,000 millimetres (98–118  in), and rain is likely on at least 260 days per year. The average humidity is 80%. The average annual temperature is 26.6 °C (79.9 °F), rarely falling below 24.0 °C (75.2 °F); during the rainy season, it ranges between 28.0 °C (82.4 °F) and 32.0 °C (89.6 °F).

Only 5% of the islands' land area consists of arable land; permanent crops cover another 20%. Deforestation is a serious problem: Only small portions of the original forests remain, largely because the inhabitants use wood as their main fuel source, and, as a result, the mountainous terrain of Futuna is particularly susceptible to erosion. The island of Alofi lacks natural freshwater resources; as a result, there are no permanent settlements on it.

Volcanic activity during the mid-Pleistocene created numerous volcanic crater lakes on Uvea (Wallis Island). The names of some of them are: Lalolalo, Lano, Lanutavake, Lanutuli, Lanumaha, Kikila, and Alofivai.[15]

Wallis and Futuna is part of the Fiji tropical moist forests terrestrial ecoregion.[16]


Satellite image of Wallis Island
Satellite image of Futuna Island and Alofi Island, also known as the Hoorn Islands
Island Capital Other Cities Area (km2) Population[17]
Wallis and Futuna Mata-Utu Leava, Vaitupu, Alele, Liku, Falaleu, Utufua 142.42 11,558
Hoorn Islands (Futuna and Alofi islands) Leava Fiua, Nuku, Taoa, Mala'e, Ono, Vele 64.1 3,225
Alofi 17.8 1
Futuna Leava Toloke, Fiua, Vaisei, Nuku, Taoa, Mala'e, Kolopelu, Ono, Kolia, Vele, Kolotai, Laloua, Poi, Tamana, Tuatafa, Tavai 46.3 3,225
Faioa 0.68 0
Fenuafo'ou 0.03 0
Fugalei 0.18 0
Ilot St. Christophe Chappel St. Christophe 0.03 0
Luaniva 0.18 0
Nukuatea 0.74 0
Nukufotu 0.04 0
Nukuhifala Nukuhifala 0.067 4
Nukuhione 0.02 0
Nukuloa Nukuloa 0.35 10
Nukutapu 0.05 0
Nukuteatea 0.1 0
Other Nukuato 0.043 0
Tekaviki 0.01 0
Wallis (island) Mata-Utu Vaitupu, Alele, Liku, Falaleu, Utufua, Mala'efo'ou, Mala'e 75.8 8,333
Other 0 0
Wallis and Futuna Mata-Utu Leava, Vaitupu, Alele, Liku, Falaleu, Utufua 142.42 11,558

Flora and faunaEdit


A proportional representation of Wallis and Futuna exports, 2019

The GDP of Wallis and Futuna in 2005 was US$188 million (at market exchange rates).[2] The territory's economy consists mostly of traditional subsistence agriculture, with about 80% of the labor force earning its livelihood from agriculture (coconuts and vegetables), livestock (mostly pigs), and fishing. About 4% of the population is employed in government. Additional revenue comes from French government subsidies, licensing of fishing rights to Japan and South Korea, import taxes, and remittances from expatriate workers in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and France. Industries include copra, handicrafts, fishing, and lumber. Agricultural products include coconuts, breadfruit, yams, taro, bananas, pigs, and fish. Exports include copra, chemicals, and fish.

There is a single bank in the territory, Banque de Wallis-et-Futuna, established in 1991. It is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas. There had previously been a branch of Banque Indosuez at Mata-Utu. It had opened in 1977, but was closed in 1989, leaving the territory without any bank for two years.



The total population of the territory at the July 2018 census was 11,558 (72.1% on the island of Wallis, 27.9% on the island of Futuna),[1] down from 14,944 at the July 2003 census.[4] The vast majority of the population are of Polynesian ethnicity, with a small minority who were born in Metropolitan France or are of French descent.

Lack of economic opportunities has, since the 1950s, been impelling many young Wallisians and Futunians to migrate to the more prosperous French territory of New Caledonia, where, as French citizens, they are legally entitled to settle and work. Since the mid-2000s, emigration has surged in response to political tensions on the main island of Wallis (Uvea), that have arisen from a feud between rival aristocratic clans, who are supporting competing kings. Emigrants have begun settling, not only in New Caledonia, but also much farther away, in Metropolitan France. At the 2014 census, 21,926 residents of New Caledonia (whether born in New Caledonia or in Wallis and Futuna) reported their ethnicity as "Wallisian and Futunian." This is almost double the total population of Wallis and Futuna.[18]

Historical populationEdit

1969 1976 1983 1990 1996 2003 2008 2013 2018
8,546 9,192 12,408 13,705 14,166 14,944 13,484 12,197 11,558
Official figures from past censuses.[4][19]


Languages in Wallis and Futuna (2018 Census)[20]

  Wallisian (59.1%)
  Futunan (27.9%)
  French (12.7%)

According to the 2018 census, among people 14 and older, 59.1% spoke Wallisian the most at home (down from 60.2% in 2008); for 27.9% it was Futunan (down from 29.9% in 2008); and for 12.7% it was French (up from 9.7% in 2008).[20][21] On Wallis Island, the languages most spoken at home were Wallisian (82.2%, down from 86.1% in 2008), French (15.6%, up from 12.1% in 2008), and Futunan (1.9%, up from 1.5% in 2008).[20][21] On Futuna, the languages most spoken at home were Futunan (94.5%, down from 94.9% in 2008), French (5.3%, up from 4.2% in 2008), and Wallisian (0.2%, down from 0.8% in 2008).[20][21]

Ten years earlier, as of the 2008 census, 88.5% of people 14 or older could speak, read and write either Wallisian or Futunan, and 7.2% had no knowledge of either Wallisian or Futunan.[22] Among those 14 or older, 78.2% could speak, read and write French, and 17.3% had no knowledge of French.[22] On Wallis Island, 81.1% of people 14 or older could speak, read and write French, and 14.3% reported that they had no knowledge of French.[22] On Futuna, 71.6% of people 14 or older could speak, read and write French, and 24.3% had no knowledge of French.[22]


The overwhelming majority (99%) of the people in Wallis and Futuna are Roman Catholics.[23] They are served by their own Roman Catholic Diocese of Wallis and Futuna, with a see at Mata-Utu, a suffragan diocese of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Nouméa (New Caledonia).[citation needed]


The culture of Wallis and Futuna is Polynesian, and is similar to the cultures of its neighbouring nations Samoa and Tonga. The Wallisian and Futunan cultures are very similar to each other in language, dance, cuisine and modes of celebration.

Fishing and agriculture are the traditional occupations, and most people live in traditional oval, thatch fale houses.[24] Kava is a popular beverage brewed in the two islands, as in much else of Polynesia. It also serves as a traditional offering in rituals.[24] Highly detailed tapa cloth art is a specialty of Wallis and Futuna.[25]

Transport and communicationsEdit

In 1994, the territory had 1,125 telephones in use, one AM radio station, and two television broadcast stations.[citation needed] Communication costs are up to ten times higher[citation needed] than in western countries. The island of Wallis has about 100 kilometres (62 mi) of roadways, 16 of which are paved. The island of Futuna has only 20 kilometres (12 mi) of roadways, none of which are paved. The territory has two main ports, in the harbours at Mata-Utu and Leava (on the island of Futuna). These ports support its merchant marine fleet, which comprises three ships (two passenger ships and a petroleum tanker), totaling 92,060 GRT or 45,881 tonnes. There are two airports: Hihifo Airport, on Wallis, which has a 2.1 kilometres (1.3 mi) paved runway; and Pointe Vele Airport, on Futuna, which has a 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) runway.[26] Now the only commercial flights to and from Wallis are operated by Caledonia-based Aircalin, which has an office in Mata-Utu. There are currently no commercial boat operators.


The French High Commission published a local newspaper in the 1970s, Nouvelles de Wallis et de Futuna.[27] Today, news is available online via a local program broadcast by the French television network La Première.[28]


There are 18 primary schools in the territory, 12 on Wallis and six on Futuna, with a combined total of over 5200 students.[29]

The territory has six junior high schools and one senior high school/sixth-form college.[30]

  • Junior high schools (collèges) in Wallis: Mataotama de Malae, Alofivai de Lano, Vaimoana de Lavegahau, and Tinemui de Teesi
  • Junior high schools in Futuna: Fiua de Sigave and Sisia d'Ono
  • The senior high school/sixth-form college is Lycée d'État de Wallis et Futuna on Wallis

There is also an agricultural high school.[29]


As of 2018, yaws was endemic in the area, but cases were not being reported to the WHO eradication programme.[31]

Healthcare is available free of charge in two hospitals on Uvea and Futuna islands.[32] There are also three dispensaries.[33]


Deforestation is a major concern in the region as only small portions of the original forests remain due to the continued use of wood as the main source of fuel. Consequently, the mountainous terrain of Futuna has become prone to erosion. There are no permanent settlements on Alofi due to the lack of natural freshwater resources, and the presence of infertile soil on the islands of Uvea and Futuna further reduces the agricultural productivity.[34]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c INSEE. "Les populations légales de Wallis et Futuna en 2018". Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c INSEE, CEROM. "L'économie de Wallis-et-Futuna en 2005: Une économie traditionnelle et administrée" (PDF) (in French). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 September 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
  3. ^ Loi no 61-814 du 29 juillet 1961 conférant aux îles Wallis-et-Futuna le statut de territoire d'outre-mer (in French).
  4. ^ a b c INSEE. "Wallis et Futuna a perdu près du cinquième de sa population en dix ans" (in French). Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Wallis-et-Futuna". outre-mer.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  6. ^ a b Sand, Christophe (2006). "A View from the West: Samoa in the Culture History of 'Uvea (Wallis) and Futuna (Western Polynesia)". The Journal of Sāmoa Studies. 2: 5–15.
  7. ^ "POP Culture: Wallis and Futuna". Guampedia. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  8. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Wallis Archipelago" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 285.
  9. ^ "" POP Cultures: Wallis and Futuna". www.guampedia.com. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  10. ^ p.213 Rottman, Gordon L. U.S. Marine Corps World War II Order of Battle: Ground and Air Units in the Pacific War, 1939-1945 Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002
  11. ^ "Wallis and Futuna Islands". InfoPlease. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  12. ^ BBC News (1 June 2007). "Been and gone – fit for a King". Retrieved 3 June 2007.
  13. ^ "France appoints new prefect of Wallis and Futuna". Radio New Zealand. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  14. ^ Wallis and Futuna Rulers.org
  15. ^ "Wetlands of Wallis and Futuna" (PDF). Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Service de l’Environnement. 2017.
  16. ^ Dinerstein, Eric; et al. (2017). "An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm". BioScience. 67 (6): 534–545. doi:10.1093/biosci/bix014. ISSN 0006-3568. PMID 28608869.
  17. ^ "Population municipale des villages des îles Wallis et Futuna (recensement 2018)". INSEE. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  18. ^ ISEE. "L'évolution de la population par communauté d'appartenance". Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  19. ^ INSEE. "Wallis et Futuna - Recensement de la population". Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  20. ^ a b c d STSEE. "Les premiers résultats du recensement de la population 2018 - Principaux_tableaux_population_2018" (ODS) (in French). Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  21. ^ a b c INSEE, Government of France. "Tableau Pop_06_1 : Population selon le sexe, la connaissance du français et l'âge décennal" (in French). Archived from the original (XLS) on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
  22. ^ a b c d INSEE, Government of France. "Tableau Pop_06_1 : Population selon le sexe, la connaissance du français et l'âge décennal" (XLS) (in French). Retrieved 3 October 2009.
  23. ^ "The World Factbook – Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  24. ^ a b Ibpus.com; International Business Publications, USA (1 January 2012). Wallis & Futuna Business Law Handbook: Strategic Information and Laws. Int'l Business Publications. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-1-4387-7141-0. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  25. ^ Hinz, Earl R.; Howard, Jim (2006). Landfalls of Paradise: Cruising Guide to the Pacific Islands. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 220–. ISBN 978-0-8248-3037-3.
  26. ^ Dominik Maximilián Ramík (26 May 2009). "Futuna - přílet z Wallisu - Flying to Futuna Island (from Wallis)". Retrieved 14 April 2018 – via YouTube.
  27. ^ Dawrs, Stu. "Research Guides: Pacific Islands Newspapers : Wallis and Futuna". guides.library.manoa.hawaii.edu. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  28. ^ "Wallis-et-Futuna la 1ère : actualités et info en direct de Wallis-et-Futuna, replays TV et radio". Wallis-et-Futuna la 1ère (in French). Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  29. ^ a b "LIVRET D'ACCUEIL Wallis et Futuna." Wallis and Futuna. p. 22 (22/28). Retrieved on 14 September 2016.
  30. ^ "Cartographie des établissements du second degré." Wallis and Futuna. 24 June 2016. Retrieved on 14 September 2016.
  31. ^ Fitzpatrick, Christopher; Asiedu, Kingsley; Solomon, Anthony W.; Mitja, Oriol; Marks, Michael; Van der Stuyft, Patrick; Meheus, Filip (4 December 2018). "Prioritizing surveillance activities for certification of yaws eradication based on a review and model of historical case reporting". PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 12 (12): e0006953. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0006953. ISSN 1935-2727. PMC 6294396. PMID 30513075.
  32. ^ "Wallis and Futuna - Economy". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  33. ^ "Travel Tips for Wallis and Futuna (France), Updated Intl. Guide – Travel Medicine, Inc". www.travmed.com.
  34. ^ "The World Factbook". Central Intelligence Agency.

External linksEdit