Ata is a small, uninhabited island in the south of the Tonga archipelago, which is also called Pylstaart. This island should not be confused with the also unbewohntenAtā, one of the flat coral islands along the Piha Passage, 9.4 km north-east of Tongatapu is. Ata is also a traditional leader title in Kolovai, one of the oldest settlements on the western tip of Tonga.
Ata is located 157 km southwest of the main island of Tongatapu Tongan and 163 km southwest of the island of Eua, on the day, most descendants of the previous population of Ata live. 900 km south-southwest of Ata already associated with New Zealand Raoul Island Iceland is ( Kermadec Islands ). Between Ata and Raoul are several submarine volcanoes that continue in a chain using the Kermadec Islands to New Zealand.
With the exception of the 200 kilometers to the south-west to atoll -like Minerva reefs, although they often dry out, but have no actual islands and thus no mainland, is ' Ata, the southernmost island of Tonga.
The island has a length of 1.7 km from north to south and a width of 1.6 km. The surface area is 2.3 km ², according to other sources is 1.5 km ². ' Ata is 355 meters high and mostly wooded.
There are legends, according to which said to have been inhabited before the arrival of the Polynesians, the island of short statured people. Ata was discovered on January 19, 1643 by the Europeans, including Abel Tasman. Because of the many tropical birds that he saw near the island, he called it Pylstaert Eylant, in present-day Dutch Pijlstaart, ie horseshoe, which is a term for the deep sea cod and for a tropical bird. Adverse winds prevented to come closer. Also, no locals were in their narrow boats. From his point of view the rock formations Tasman reminiscent of a female breast.
Ata has the dubious honor of 1862 to have been one of the three Tongan islands until 1864, who were attacked by Peruvian slavers. 1862 the Peruvian government decided to attract foreign workers for the Guano Islands. A small fleet of ships crossed the Pacific Ocean. Instead to requisition workers, Tongan islanders were simply kidnapped. In June 1863 some 350 people lived in the village Ata Kolomaile in the northeastern part of the island, as a whaleboat recognized the slave trade as a lucrative source of income. Several shiploads of locals were abducted by Ata, a total of 144 people. Good one hundred years after traces of the village were still visible.
The remaining 200 residents were brought to safety after hearing of the events of King George Tupou I. with three schooners of Ata after Eua. Until the mid-20th century, the desire was still alive, back again in the old home Kolomaile. However, the unfavorable topography of the island without port has nipped in the bud, since each crossing had to be considered too dangerous and unpredictable the implementation of return plans. Even a safe anchorage is not given, because around the island are coral reefs.
Ata is still part of the Kingdom of Tonga, but it is not populated.
Descendants of the evacuated residents of Ata still live on Eua, where the named after the former home village village Kolomaile was founded by their ancestors. This was according to the 2006 census, including Haatua 511 inhabitants.
1965 stranded six Tongan youth for 13 months on Ata. They managed to survive on the island without spring water until they were rescued by an Australian fisherman.