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Location of the commune (in red) within the Windward Islands
Location of the commune (in red) within the Windward Islands
Coordinates: 16°43′52″S 151°26′35″W / 16.731°S 151.443°W / -16.731; -151.443Coordinates: 16°43′52″S 151°26′35″W / 16.731°S 151.443°W / -16.731; -151.443
Country France
Overseas collectivity French Polynesia
 • Mayor Sylviane TEROOATEA
Area 15 km2 (6 sq mi)
Population (August 2007 census)1 3,778
 • Density 250/km2 (650/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 98758 /98735
Elevation 0–479 m (0–1,572 ft)
1 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Uturoa is a commune (municipality) of French Polynesia and an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. Uturoa is located at the island of Raiatea in the administrative subdivision of the Leeward Islands, of which Uturoa is the administrative capital.[1] The Leeward Islands are part of the Society Islands, and Uturoa is the main port of Raiatea Island. At the time of the August 2007 census, the urban area of Uturoa had 8,735 inhabitants, 3,778 of whom lived in Uturoa proper. Uturoa is about 120 mi (200 km) northwest of Papeete, the Tahitian capital. The present mayor of Uturoa is Sylviane Terooatea.


Raiatea Airport is a single runway airport located in Eastern Uturoa. The airport has links to nearby islands. Air Tahiti is the main airline. The runway is made of asphalt and stretches to the eastern side of the island. To make an international flight, residents take Air Tahiti to Faa'a International Airport in Faaa. There are also ferries leaving Raiatea to sail north toward nearby Tahaa, as well as ferries sail to Vaitape/Bora Bora to the north-west or Tahiti to the south-east. The main airlines flying there are American Airlines, Delta, United, JetBlue, Frontier and a few others.

View of Uturoa from nearby mountains


Uturoa was first settled by early Polynesians coming from Southeast Asia. The settlers built houses of branches and grass. Fish, bananas, and apples were their main food. The first European to record its sighting was Pedro Fernandez de Quirós in 1606, charting it as Fugitive.[2] During the 1700s, Captain James Cook arrived in Tahiti, and many more French Polynesian islands to map most of the Pacific Ocean. Later, Charles Darwin would arrive, exploring Moorea, and the other Society Islands. An 1896 raid by the forces of Queen Mamea in retaliation for the French annexation of her kingdom killed several traders.[3] Don the Beachcomber resided in Uturoa for some of his life. Uturoa experienced major population growth during the 1940s.


Container ships and ferries are found throughout the harbor. The ferries sail to the other Society Islands, such as Bora Bora and Moorea. The arbor size is limited by the short coast.


Uturoa has parks near the harbor, with the closest being the Uturoa coastal park. The parks on the mountains close to Uturoa have views of both the harbor and the city. School parks are found throughout Raiatea and usually have wide open spaces.


Uturoa is around 169 mi (270 km) from Teahupo'o, a district of Tahiti. Teahupoo is close to a reef break that has enormous swells. Uturoa is the northernmost point of Raiatea, and has a view of Bora Bora, Tahaa, and Huahine. The commune is about 5 ft (1.5 m) above sea level on average. The mountains of Uturoa are not far inland, and sometimes touch the coast and form coastal ranges. Uturoa is situated between the small pass of Tahaa and the forest-covered mountains of Raiatea. The views from this small territory can be amazing, as it is tucked in between a beautiful blue lagoon and the impressive Mount Tapioi.


Temperatures are usually anywhere between 20 - 30-degree Celsius throughout the year. The rainy season is considered to be between the months of November - May, with the average rainfall is around 17 days per month. Humidity levels hover around 80% and remain consistent throughout the year. [4]


Some beaches of Uturoa have black sand in some parts due to past volcanic eruptions. The beaches stop at one point, giving way to an industrialized coast filled with cranes and container ships.

Nearby communes

Uturoa is part of the Raiatea commune. Two other districts make up Raiatea: Huahine, which is about 31 mi (50 km) away from Raiatea and is home to Fare, a large community; and Tahaa, which is just across the strait. The main island of Bora Bora (Anau) can be seen from Uturoa.


Major sports include football and basketball. Due to high rates of tourism, water sports are also vastly popular in Utoroa. Sailing, jet skiing, water skiing, kayaking, and windsurfing are all water sports that this French territory has to offer.

See also


  1. ^ "Raiatea". 
  2. ^ Burney, James A chronological history of the discoveries in the South Sea or the Pacific Ocean London, 1803, vII, p.326.
  3. ^ "Mamea is Plucky". The Saint Paul Globe (Page 9). April 12, 1896. Retrieved 14 April 2018. 
  4. ^,uturoa-raiatea-pf,French-Polynesia
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