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Encyclopedia > Penrhyn Island

Penrhyn Island (also called Tongareva or Mangarongaro) is the most remote and largest atoll of the 15 Cook Islands in the south Pacific Ocean, 1365 km (848 miles) north-north-east of Rarotonga, 9 degrees below the equator. It sits atop the highest submarine volcano in the Cooks, 4876 m (15,917 feet) above the ocean floor. It comprises a ring of coral 77 km (48 miles) around. The lagoon covers 233 sq km (90 sq miles) of which 62 sq km (24 sq miles) is covered with pearlshell.[1][2] Rarotonga Island from space, September 1994 A picture taken in Rarotonga. ...

Penrhyn's original name was Tongareva, signifying "Tonga floating in space". The present-day Maori name is Mangarongaro which developed from the name of one of the divisions of the large south-western islet. However, the most commonly-used name is Penrhyn after the "Lady Penrhyn" commanded by Captain William Cropton Lever who landed on August 8 1788. Another European name was Bennett Island.[3]

Land area is 984 hectares (2432 acres), appx 9.8 sq km (4 square miles). Maximum elevation less than 5m. Population of 628 (1961).[4][5]

Aerial view of Tongareva
Aerial view of Tongareva

In World War II a substantial airstrip was built, which is still used today for weekly flights by the local Airline for flights to and from Rarotonga. Image File history File links Tongareava-Lagoon-01. ... Image File history File links Tongareava-Lagoon-01. ... World War II was a truly global conflict with many facets: immense human suffering, fierce indoctrination, and the use of new, extremely devastating weapons such as the atomic bomb. ... An airstrip is a kind of airport that consists only of a runway with perhaps fueling equipment. ... Rarotonga Island from space, September 1994 A picture taken in Rarotonga. ...

A large passage in the lagoon allows interisland ships to enter the lagoon and the island has become popular as a stopover for with yachts crossing the Pacific from Panama to New Zealand.

Black pearl farming is the only significant economic activity on the island. The locally produced Rito hats, woven from Pandanus leaves, are considered the finest in the whole South Pacific. Using the young coconut leaf they follow the same process as for pandanus though the end product is a smaller, finer, and whiter leaf. Called rito weaving the traditional items woven are Sunday church fans, small baskets and hats, the hats being a copy of the ones the sailors wore.[http://www.mahina.com/pacific.html} ...

Missionaries. In 1864 Penrhyn was almost depopulated by Peruvian slavers (also called blackbirding). An estimated 1,000 men, women, and children were taken to South America. Native pastors of the London Missionary Society had introduced Christianity from Rarotonga in 1854. The new religion had been accepted enthusiastically, and the villagers immediately wanted to build churches. Promise of good pay and safe return from the slavers offered a way to obtain money for churches. But most died in exile, virtually slaves. [6] Another source states that "In 1863 some 410 of the total population of about 500 were removed by trickery, the Spanish Peruvian perpetrators being abetted by four native missionary teachers who sold these unfortunates for five dollars a head! In fact, three of them accompanied the slaves to Peru as interpreters" [7] A missionary is a propagator of religion, often an evangelist or other representative of a religious community who works among those outside of that community. ... Blackbirding refers to the recruitment of people through trickery and kidnappings to work on plantations, particularly sugar cane plantations. ...

External links

http://www.jetsave.co.ck/pyemap.htm Map of Penrhyn http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jwroberts/penrhyn.html Photos of Penrhyn

  Results from FactBites:
Penrhyn Island - Cook Islands - Cook Island Escapes - Cook Island Honeymoons and Cook Island Weddings. Cook Island ... (502 words)
Penrhyn Island located in the northern group of the Cook Islands lies 1365 kilometers north of Rarotonga.
Penrhyn comprises a series of narrow motus (islands) enclosing one of the largest lagoons in the Pacific.
Since there are no hotels in Penrhyn, your accommodation can be with a local family in the village of Omoka, a private house in the village, or a thatched roof fale.
Cook Islands - Recollections of Penrhyn (Tongareva Island) (3854 words)
There were nine lepers in all upon the island; but the other five either could not, or did not wish to leave their huts, and the agent refused to break the quarantine any further than he had already done.
Death in every form is always near to Penrhyn; death in the dark waters of the lagoon, death from the white terror of leprosy, and death of the hands of men but quarter civilised, whose fingers are always itching for the ready knife.
The windward side of Penrhyn is uninhabited; the sea that breaks in blinding white foam upon the untrodden strand, wreathed with trailing vines of vivid green, is never broken by a sail.
  More results at FactBites »



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