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Pitcairn Islands

Bounty Bay and the town square of Adamstown, connected by the newly-paved Hill of Difficulty (by permission of Andrew Christian)

Capital (and largest city) Adamstown
Official language(s) English (local dialect is Pitkern)
Ethnic groups British, Polynesian, Chilean or Mixed
Demonym Pitcairn Islanders
Government British Overseas Territory (constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democratic dependency)
Area – Total 47 km2 (18.1 sq mi )
Population – 2011 estimate 67 (last), – Density 1.27/km2 (211th), 3.31/sq mi
Currency New Zealand dollar (alongside the Pitcairn Islands dollar as collectibles) (NZD)
Time zone UTC−08
ISO 3166 code PN
Internet TLD .pn

The Pitcairn Islands (Pitkern: Pitkern Ailen), officially named the Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, type a group of 4 volcanic islands within the southern Pacific Ocean. The islands really are a British Abroad Territory. The 4 islands-named Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno-are spread more than a number of hundred miles of ocean and possess a total land region of about 47 square kilometres (18 sq mi). Only Pitcairn, the second biggest and measuring about three.6 kilometres (two.two mi) from east to west, is inhabited.

The islands are very best referred to as house from the descendants from the Bounty mutineers and also the Tahitians (or Polynesians) who accompanied them, an occasion retold in many books and films. This background continues to be apparent within the surnames of numerous from the islanders. With only about 67 inhabitants (presently from 4 primary households: Christian, Warren, Young, and Brown), Pitcairn will be the least populous jurisdiction on the planet. The United Nations Committee on Decolonisation consists of the Pitcairn Islands around the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.


Pitcairn is situated just below the Tropic of Capricorn and enjoys year round warm climate. Summer time temperatures typical 25-35 degrees Celsius from the months of October via to April, whilst the winter months vary from 17 degrees to 25. The typical humidity in summer time can exceed 95%. The rainy season is from November via to March.

Flora and fauna

About nine plant species are believed to happen only on Pitcairn. These consist of tapau, formerly an essential timber resource, and also the giant nehe fern (Angiopteris chauliodonta). Some, like red berry (Coprosma rapensis var. Benefica), are perilously close to extinction. The Pitcairn Islands are certainly one of two locations (the other becoming Mangareva) on the planet in which the plant species Glochidion pitcairnense happens.

When it comes to fauna, an fascinating and uncommon introduction will be the Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra). The sole surviving tortoise, Ms T (also referred to as Turpen), was certainly one of 5, which arrived on Pitcairn in between 1937 and 1951, brought towards the island by Irving Johnson, skipper from the 96-foot (29 m) Brigantine Yankee. Turpen generally resides at Tedside by Western Harbour. A protection order tends to make it an offence ought to anybody kill, injure, capture, maim or trigger harm or distress towards the tortoise.

The birds of Pitcairn fall into a number of groups. These consist of seabirds, wading birds along with a little quantity of resident land bird species. Of 20 breeding species, Henderson Island has 16, such as the distinctive flightless Henderson Crake; Oeno 12; Ducie 13 and Pitcairn six. From the birds breeding on Pitcairn the very best recognized would be the Fairy Tern, Typical Noddy and Red-tailed Tropicbird. The Pitcairn Reed Warbler, recognized by Pitcairners as a “Sparrow”, is endemic to Pitcairn Island; formerly typical, it was placed around the endangered species list in 2008.


The 4 islands within the Pitcairn group happen to be identified by BirdLife International as separate Essential Bird Locations (IBAs). Pitcairn Island itself is recognised since it will be the only nesting website from the Pitcairn Reed-warbler. Henderson Island is essential for its endemic landbirds also as its breeding seabirds. Oeno’s ornithological significance derives principally from its Murphy’s Petrel colony. Ducie is essential for its colonies of Murphy’s, Herald and Kermadec Petrels, and Christmas Shearwaters.

Economic climate

The fertile soil from the Pitcairn valleys, like Isaac’s Valley around the gentle slopes south-east of Adamstown, generates a wide selection of fruits: such as bananas (Pitkern: plun), papaya (paw paws), pineapples, mangoes, watermelons, rockmelons, passionfruit, breadfruit, coconuts, avocadoes, and citrus (such as oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons and limes); and vegetables consist of: sweet potatoes (kumura), carrots, sweet corn, tomatoes, taro, yams, peas, and beans. Arrowroot (Tacca leontopetaloides) and sugarcane are grown and harvested to generate arrowroot flour and molasses. Pitcairn Island is remarkably productive and its benign climate enables a wide selection of tropical and temperate crops to become grown.

Fish are plentiful within the seas about Pitcairn. Spiny lobster along with a big selection of fish are caught for meals and for trading aboard passing ships. Nearly each and every day somebody will go fishing, whether or not it’s from the rocks, from a longboat or diving having a spear gun. You will find many kinds of fish about the island. Fish like Nanwee, White Fish, Moi and Opapa are caught in shallow water, whilst Snapper, Large Eye and Cod are caught in deep water and Yellow Tail and Wahoo are caught by trawling. A selection of minerals-including manganese, iron, copper, gold, silver and zinc-have been found inside the Exclusive Financial Zone (EEZ), which extends 370 km offshore and comprises 880,000 km2.


The Pitcairners are involved in making crafts and curios (produced out of wood from Henderson). Common wood carvings consist of sharks, fish, whales, dolphins, turtles, vases, birds, walking sticks, book boxes and also the well-known models from the Bounty. Miro (Thespesia populnea), a dark, tough and beautifully grained wood, is favored for carving. Islanders also generate exquisite tapa cloth and painted hattie leaves.

Coins and stamps

The significant sources of income, till lately, happen to be the sale of coins and postage stamps to collectors, .pn domain names, and also the sale of handicrafts to passing ships, the majority of that are plying the United Kingdom to New Zealand route through the Panama Canal. Trade is restricted from the jagged geography from the island, which lacks a harbour or airstrip, forcing all trade to become produced by longboat to going to ships. Sometimes, passengers from expedition-type cruise ships will come ashore to get a day, climate permitting. Tourism will be the primary concentrate for developing the future economic climate concentrating on little groups coming by charter vessel and staying at “home stays”. Supplying accommodation is really a expanding supply of income and some have invested in developing separate self-contained units adjacent to their houses.

Honey production

In 1998, the UK Government help agency, the Division for International Improvement, funded an apiculture programme for Pitcairn which integrated coaching for Pitcairn’s beekeepers along with a comprehensive evaluation of Pitcairn’s bees and honey with specific regard towards the presence or not of illness. Pitcairn, it was found, has among the very best examples of disease-free bee populations anyplace on the planet and also the honey created was and remains exceptionally higher in high quality. Pitcairn bees had been also discovered to become a especially placid selection and, inside a brief time, the beekeepers had been in a position to function with them wearing minimal protection. Consequently, Pitcairn these days exports its renowned honey to New Zealand and towards the United Kingdom, exactly where it’s stocked in London by Fortnum and Mason and Partridges in Sloane Square. The honey has turn out to be a favourite of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. The Pitcairn Islanders, below the “Bounty Products” and “Delectable Bounty” brands, also export dried fruit such as bananas, papayas, pineapples and mangoes to New Zealand.


St. Paul’s Point in west Pitcairn Island

Tourism plays a significant function on Pitcairn supplying the locals 80% of their annual earnings. Because 2009, the Government has been operating the MV Claymore II because the island’s only devoted passenger/cargo vessel supplying tourists with adventure tourism holidays to Pitcairn for three- or ten-day visits. Tourists remain with nearby households and get to encounter the island’s background whilst contributing towards the nearby economic climate. Some households have invested in personal self-contained units for tourists to rent. Every year roughly ten cruise ships contact in the island to get a couple of hours, producing earnings for your locals from the sale of souvenirs, landing charges and also the stamping of passports. Kids below the age of 16 years need a completed entry clearance application to be able to go to the island.

Electrical energy

Electrical energy (240V/50Hz) is accessible only for five hours within the morning and five hours within the evening. It’s supplied by diesel generators operating ten hours each day (from eight am to 1 pm, and from five pm to ten pm). A wind energy plant is planned to become installed to assist decrease the higher price of energy generation presently related using the import of diesel, and offer 24-hour electrical energy towards the islanders at 70 cents per unit with no government subsidy.


The majority from the resident Pitcairn Islanders would be the descendants from the Bounty Mutineers and Tahitians (or Polynesians). Pitkern is really a creole language derived from 18th century English, with components from the Tahitian language. It’s spoken as a initial language from the population and is taught alongside normal English in the island’s only school. It’s closely associated towards the creole language Norfuk, spoken on Norfolk Island, simply because Norfolk was repopulated within the mid-19th century by Pitcairners.


In September 2003, a infant was born around the island for the first time in 17 years (Pitcairn Miscellany, 2003). An additional youngster, Adrianna Tracey Christian, was born on Pitcairn on three March 2007 (Miscellany, 2007). In February 2005, Shirley and Simon Young became the very first married outsider couple in recorded background to acquire citizenship on Pitcairn (Miscellany, March 2005). Because 2001, a substantial proportion from the Pitcairn population (21 individuals) has been provided a Individual Public Service Quantity in Ireland, that is needed for function, taxes and social advantages.


100% from the population is Seventh-day Adventist. A effective Seventh-day Adventist mission within the 1890s was essential in shaping Pitcairn society. In current years, the church has declined, with only about eight islanders worshipping frequently, but the majority of them nonetheless attend church on unique occasions. The Sabbath is observed as each day of rest and as a mark of respect for observant Adventists.

The church which was constructed in 1954, is run from the Church board and resident pastor, who generally serves a two-year phrase. The Sabbath School meets at ten am on Saturday mornings and is followed by Divine Service an hour later. On Tuesday evenings there’s a additional service within the type of a prayer meeting.


The once-strict moral codes, which prohibited dancing, public displays of affection, smoking, and consumption of alcohol, happen to be relaxed in current years. Islanders and guests no longer need a six-month licence to buy, import, and consume alcohol. There’s now 1 licensed cafe and bar around the island, and also the Government Shop sells alcohol and cigarettes.

The distinctive cuisine and wealthy cultural heritage from the Pitcairn Islanders is comprehensive inside a cookbook: A Taste of Pitcairn: The very first Pitcairn Island Cookbook, by Pitcairn resident Meralda Warren (updated ed. 2005).

Fishing and swimming are two well-liked recreational activities. A birthday celebration or the arrival of a ship or yacht will involve the whole Pitcairn neighborhood inside a public dinner within the Square, Adamstown. Tables are covered inside a selection of foods, such as fish, meat, chicken, philhi, baked rice, boiled plun (banana), breadfruit, vegetable dishes, an assortment of pies, bread, breadsticks, an array of desserts, pineapple, watermelon and much more.

Public function, which by law is needed of all males and ladies in between the ages of 16 and 65, guarantees the ongoing upkeep from the island’s many roads and paths. The island features a labour force of more than 35 males and ladies (as of 2011).


Education is totally free and compulsory in between the ages of 5 and 16.[39] All of Pitcairn’s seven kids had been enrolled in school in 2000.[39] The island’s kids have created a book in Pitkern and English known as Mi Bas Side orn Pitcairn or My Favourite Location on Pitcairn.

The school at Pulau offers pre-school and main education according to the New Zealand syllabus. The instructor is appointed from the Governor from appropriate certified applicants who’re New Zealand registered teachers. The contract consists of the function of Editor from the Pitcairn Miscellany.


The islands are every distinctive, with differing origins. Pitcairn is distinctly volcanic, jutting steeply out from the ocean having a peak of 337 meters, seemingly a stone’s throw from the shoreline (in any path). As such it has extremely small of what could be known as a “beach” – nevertheless the word “cliff” gets utilized a great deal – and harbors are difficult to come by. Bounty Bay hardly deserves the name, consisting of a little indentation within the shoreline with water deep sufficient only for little boats with out keels along with a little sea-level landing region… connected through the Hill of Difficulty to Adamstown. It’s the only island from the group with fresh water sources. Henderson will be the biggest island, a flat coral formation, but raised 50-100 feet above sea level by volcanic activity. It has caves along its shoreline which served as either tombs or ill-fated residences to an ancient individuals (keep in mind: no fresh water). It may be appropriate for developing an airstrip if it weren’t for all of the endangered seabirds that discover it a perfect spot to land. Oeno is really a little, flat island (accompanied by an additional sandy island referred to as “Sandy Island”) surrounded by a circular reef, a common South-Pacific paradise with palm trees, beautiful beaches, along with a sheltered lagoon. Ducie is distant from the other people (more than one hundred miles from Henderson and nicely more than 200 from Pitcairn), a circular reef and island, well-liked with seabirds.

Pitcairn Island

How you can get in

The remoteness and ruggedness of Pitcairn’s geography, the insularity of its bureaucracy, and also the scarcity of its sources conspire to create it a really challenging location to go to.

Guests staying around the island for just about any length of time need a license from the governor, since the irregularity of transport indicates they are successfully residents from the island for your subsequent a number of weeks or perhaps months. These licenses need proof of great well being, the indicates to leave in the finish from the go to (e.g., passage on an upcoming ship), a minimum of NZ$300/week to cover your price of residing on Pitcairn, numerous other circumstances, along with a $100 fee; they’re valid for six months.

By plane

There’s no airstrip within the islands, and it is out of selection of land-launched helicopters, so flying isn’t an choice. (The biggest flat region on Pitcairn would provide a really brief runway, and level Henderson Island is each a UNESCO-listed bird sanctuary and inconveniently situated.) The nearest airport is on Mangareva within the Gambier Islands, 330 miles away. You are able to catch a charter vessel from Mangareva.

By boat

Pitcairn Island is accessible to tourists through the island’s devoted passenger/shipping vessel the Claymore II which offers passage from Mangareva to Pitcairn each and every three months. A little quantity of commercial cruise ships and personal ocean-traversing yachts also go to the island. Sailing from French Polynesia is fairly sensible; from nearly anyplace else (e.g., New Zealand, Chile) it demands crossing a large number of miles from the Pacific Ocean.

The very best and most dependable method to get to Pitcairn Island would be to fly to Mangareva through Tahiti. Air Tahiti provides the only domestic flights to Mangareva. Air Tahiti flights happen as soon as per week (each and every Tuesday). You then catch the airport taxi ferry to Rikitea village on Mangareva (within the Gambier Islands). The price is XPF500 1 way. The crew from the Claymore will meet you in the wharf in Rikitea and transfer you towards the ship. 32 hours later you will be at Pitcairn.


Because October 2005 there’s now 1 brief paved road on Pitcairn (up the Hill of Difficulty from the landing at Bounty Bay to Adamstown), but most routes about Pitcairn Island are dirt trails, usually extremely rugged. Walking and individual all-terrain automobiles (3- and 4-wheel “motorbikes”) would be the primary methods to get from 1 location to an additional, along with a bike is generally accessible for rent.


  • The remains from the Bounty are in Bounty Bay. The ship was deliberately burned and sunk from the mutineers, and it is been nicely picked more than by divers within the meantime, but there is nonetheless an allure to seeing (what small is left of) the vessel from the correct tale that produced “Captain Bligh” and “the Bounty” household names.
  • The Bounty’s anchor is on display in front from the Public Hall within the town square, exactly where the library/post workplace developing, and also the Adventist church may also be discovered.
  • The new museum in Adamstown consists of artifacts from the Bounty (such as Fletcher Christian’s Bible), stamps, problems of National Geographic featuring the islands, as well as other products of nearby interest. Among the ship’s 4 cannons is planned to become displayed right here.
  • The island’s school lies up within the western “suburbs” of Adamstown.
  • The grave of John Adams, the final surviving mutineer who initial Christianised the neighborhood, the only 1 having a preserved grave.
  • Fletcher Christian’s cave, previous the school and additional up, is exactly where the lead mutineer is stated to possess watched for approaching ships and/or hid from his ruthless fellow settlers when essential.
  • A Galapagos tortoise named Mrs Turpin was left around the island within the early 20th century, and now lives in Tedside around the northwest shore from the island.
  • Taro Ground within the south of Pitcairn will be the biggest flat region around the island and website from the island’s conventional hyperlink towards the outdoors globe: its ham radio station.
  • Flatland is really a smaller sized plateau in the upper extent of Adamstown, having a tennis court, volleyball, and picnic facilities.
  • Garnet’s Ridge, at 300 m among the highest components of a tall island, provides excellent views to each the west and east.
  • Highest Point will be the… highest point around the island, at 337 m.
  • Down Rope, a cliff around the southeast edge from the island, has ancient Polynesian petroglyphs in its face and an isolated sandy beach at its base.
  • Gudgeon is really a sea-level cave around the southwest side from the island, which hides a sandy beach inside a big, wide space carved from the waves.


When the ocean is calm sufficient, go swimming in St. Paul’s Pool, a picturesque tidal pool nestled amongst the seaside rocks in eastern component of Pitcairn. (Swimming within the ocean itself usually is not secure because of the rocky shoreline.)

Sail your self or maybe travel using the locals to an additional from the islands. Oeno has sandy beaches appropriate for swimming, Henderson provides uncommon possibilities for birdwatching and exploration of ancient caves (dwellings?), and each are great for snorkeling or scuba diving amongst coral reefs along with a couple of shipwrecks. Ducie is more than 300 miles away, out of selection of the islanders’ boats, and consequently seldom visited, but can also be great for seeing uncommon birds.

Each and every year on January 23, “Bounty Day” is celebrated having a massive neighborhood dinner and also the burning of a model from the Bounty.

Bounty Bay


The internal economic climate is based mainly on barter, with residents creating a lot of their very own food and sharing supplies from passing freighters or big fish catches communally. When cash is utilized, the New Zealand dollar will be the normal currency, but easily-exchanged currencies like US or Australian dollars or UK pounds will probably be accepted.

The primary locally-produced products for sale are handicrafts (particularly woven baskets, models from the Bounty, and carvings of nearby wildlife out of miro wood harvested from Henderson Island) and honey, and also the island’s postage stamps (also accessible by mail abroad) are of interest to philatelists. Something else must be imported, and is priced accordingly.


There’s a little co-op common shop which stocks imported foodstuffs from New Zealand or French Polynesia, mainly ordered by clients ahead of time. It’s open three mornings/week, an hour every. The nearby cuisine relies heavily on seafood. Deep-fried nanwi (bluefish) is really a nearby preferred, with red snapper, tuna, whitefish, grouper, wahoo, and other people also becoming typical. Pilhi is produced from pureed fruit (like banana, sweet potato, or breadfruit) with sugar and milk, then baked to custard consistency. Food staples grown around the island, consist of arrowroot, sweet potatoes, beans, tomatoes, cabbages, pineapples, melons, citrus fruits, bananas, and breadfruit. Some households maintain poultry or goats.


Alcohol was prohibited on Pitcairn before 1991, It was then legalised along with a license was then introduced to buy and consume alcohol around the island.

In 2009, the alcohol licence was abolished. The Islanders and guests are no longer needed to buy a licence for consumption.

The Government now provides a Commercial License for Bars, Clubs, Restaurants & Cafes to sell alcohol.

There’s 1 Cafe & Bar, Christian’s Cafe open on Fridays from 6:30PM till late.

The Government Shop around the island sells alcohol and tobacco at duty totally free prices.


You will find two kinds of accommodation on Pitcairn.

Note if you are staying longer than 14 days, visa requirements dictate that you have your accommodation organised before arrival.


At present there’s a New Zealand GP around the island. Previous medical practitioners have come from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The island features a little well being clinic with dental and X-ray equipment and emergency medications, but isn’t equipped to deal with significant problems, which may need waiting days or weeks to get a nearby passing ship to offer evacuation to a medical facility. The island is out-of-range of all evacuation helicopters. Needless to say, this is no location to possess a heart attack, stroke, and so on. A full medical check-up back house a couple weeks before arrival is strongly recommended.


The population are mainly members from the Seventh Day Adventist church, following mission function within the late 19th century. Although religious observance has declined, church doctrine strongly influences each public practice and civil law. For example, alcohol was legally prohibited till lately; dancing, public displays of affection, and cigarette smoking are frowned upon; and also the Sabbath (Saturday) is consistently considered each day of rest (if not worship). Reasonably modest, climate-appropriate western clothing is worn.

The current trials of a number of Pitcairn males (such as the former mayor and a lot from the island’s workforce) on sexual abuse charges happen to be extremely challenging for your close-knit island neighborhood, with everyone becoming a friend or family of a minimum of among the victims, the suspects, or the convicted. The incident has also brought towards the surface tensions more than Pitcairn’s sovereignty (like unfamiliar UK laws becoming tried by New Zealand courts). Strong feelings ought to be expected, and statements expressing any opinions beyond an acknowledgement of how challenging this has been for your islanders stand a higher probability of upsetting somebody in your audience.

Don’t bring bees or beekeeping equipment. The island’s bee population has been certified as disease-free and Pitcairn honey is becoming an essential financial activity.

Get in touch with

Every household now has their very own personal telephone and most have internet also. The country code is +64 like New Zealand.


Although there’s no broadcast radio or television within the region, most houses are equipped with televisions and VHS/DVD players. If you bring any recordings with you, be sure they’re PAL format and DVD region four (or bring your personal DVD player), because the locals’ equipment supports those standards (not NTSC or other DVD regions). That stated, some PAL DVD players will play region-free NTSC, though it is better not to take a chance on something essential.

How to get out

If you’ll be sailing your personal ship, the nearest islands are in French Polynesia, roughly towards the WNW: the isolated Gambier Islands are 330 miles away, the Acteon Group from the Tuamotu Islands are 450 miles away, and Tahiti and also the rest from the Society Islands really are a mere 1,300 miles off. Easter Island is about the same distance within the opposite path.

Passing freighters will likely be bound for either New Zealand or Panama.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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