Ua Pu

Ua Pou (also Uapou, Ua Pu, old names: Île Marchand, Adam Iceland (Joseph Ingraham ), Trevennen Iceland, Jefferson Iceland ) is a facility located in the South Pacific island in the northern group of the Marquesas, which belongs politically to French Polynesia.


The approximately 105 km ² is the third largest island in the Marquesas. The spectacular scenery is characterized by steep, reminiscent of church towers or hats sugar peaks. They justify the name Ua Pou, translated "two pillars". The name comes from a legend: In the construction of the " earth of men " ( Polynesian: te fenua Enata, the old Polynesian name for the Marquesas ) created the gods first the pillars of the great earthly home: the mountains of Ua Pou.

The stunning profile of the island inspired the singer Jacques Brel, who lived from 1975 to 1978 in the Marquesas, to his Chanson La Cathédrale. The highest mountain of the island is Mont Oave 1,232 meters.

A steep ridge divides Ua Pou from northwest to southeast and forms a watershed. Rivers have dug deep Taleinschnitte which widen towards the coast. In these areas the houses are built. The mountainous interior of the island and the South East are uninhabited.

The island is not protected by a fringing reef, so that the strong waves reached the coast immediately. At the southern tip lies the sparsely vegetated, only 1.1 x 0.5 km wide side Motu Oa (also written Motu Ua ), now a bird sanctuary. Further offshore islets are Takaae Motu, Motu Motu Mokohe and Akua.


Geologically, Fatu Hiva Marquesas to linear volcanic chain, which has been formed from a hot spot on the Pacific plate and moves with a speed of 103-118 mm per year in the direction WNW. The igneous rocks of the island are from 2.54 to 4.86 million years old.


Ua Pou is located in the tropical belt of the earth. The climate varies from hot and humid in the coastal areas up to damp - cold in the mountain regions with frequent and heavy rainfall.


The flora Ua Pous is compared to the other major islands of the Marquesas ( Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa ) relatively poor in species. There were only 90 indigenous species - found as well as 71 foreign - 2 of them endemic. However, this could be related to the insufficient number of previously collected specimens, the steep, inaccessible peaks have been taken away by any systematic botanical study.

The formation of the flora is significantly influenced by the trade winds, which contribute to the reduction in temperature and provide plenty of rain. The coastal areas in the ravines are up in middle heights lushly vegetated, with the centuries of human settlement and intensive cultivation of crops have reduced and thus the anthropochoren plants gives a preponderance of the number of indigenous plants.

The central regions are dominated by indigenous, dry or semi- dry plant communities. On the high peaks dominate low-growing shrubs, mostly Metrosideros. In the north, the wind and the rain shadow of the mountains, there are more arid areas.


The fauna of the Marquesas Islands is species-poor and limited to land and sea birds, insects, butterflies and spiders. The island has given its name to a canopy spider genus ( Linyphiidae ), which is endemic to Ua Pou. Harmful to humans animals do not exist. Are extremely unpleasant occurring within the country Nono - fly, a Kriebelmückenart.

In one of Hakahau separated by a peninsula bay ( Anahoa Beach ) put green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) their eggs. Unfortunately, this area is not yet protected, he is the most attractive beach of the island.


→ Main article: History of the Marquesas

The earliest Polynesian settlers on Ua Pou lived under rock overhangs, as excavations have shown from 1982 on Anapua Rockshelter, near the village of Hakatao in the south of the island. Their main food was fish.

In the following centuries independent chiefdoms were formed in the ravines out to recognize today at the location of the villages. Initially, only the coastal regions were colonized with access to the major food source ocean, with increasing population density grew the settlements up the valleys. From the tribal society Ua Pous is very little research, the German ethnologist Karl made ​​from the stones here in the years 1897/98 pioneering work. Significant chiefdoms, their structural legacies are still visible today, were in the valleys of Hakamoui and Paumea. The Islanders built their houses and ritual buildings in elaborately layered, stone and up to 3m high platforms ( paepae ). The actual houses were made of perishable materials, and had a steep pitched roof of palm leaves whose rear panel handed down to the ground. The front was open, the roof supported richly decorated, perfectly shaped carved pillars.

April 19, 1791 the Americans Joseph Ingraham sailed past on the way to China on the north- western group of the Marquesas, but without entering. The visible in the distance island of Ua Pou he gave the name "Adam" or " Adams Iceland ".

As the fundamental European discovery of the French explorers, Étienne Marchand applies (1755-1793), the only a little later, on 20 June 1791 with his ship anchored in the bay of Solid first Vaiehu on the west coast and then before Hakahau. He held to a total of three days before the island, the contacts with the residents during the short land excursions were limited. Marchand christened the island not quite immodest " Île Marchand ".

The arrival of the American whaling ship from Nantucket Tuscan on March 4, 1835 was the prelude to more encounters with whalers, adventurers and dodgy dealers in the following years, who brought the tribes of firearms and alcohol.

The French Catholic mission in the Marquesas from 1838/39 in the wake of Admiral Abel Aubert Dupetit - Thouars first remained without consequences for Ua Pou. In Hakamoui Valley of divine worshiped as chief Heato ( atua heato = God Heato ) lived, a supporter of the old religion with human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism. He made violent resistance against the European invaders and missionaries. He is said to have had a taste for human flesh untatauiertes, a rumor which had a longer stay seem less desirable for Europeans. Only after the death of Heato 1846, the missionaries were able to gain a foothold. Hakahetau claims to have the first stone church built in 1859 in the Marquesas. It is dedicated to Saint Joseph. Heatos daughter son and successor Teiki Teiuao succeeded in 1860 using European firearms all the tribes of the island under its hegemony unite. However, a smallpox epidemic decimated the island almost completely and prepared his imperial ambitions came to an abrupt end.

As the year of the final submission Ua Pous under French rule applies 1880, when Rear Admiral Abel Bergasse Dupetit - Thouars ( the adopted son of Abel Aubert Du Petit Thouars ), the last resistors removed by force. The Marquesas were French colony.

Politics and Administration

Today, the island belongs politically to the French overseas country ( pays d' outre- mer - POM) French Polynesia and is the EU attached. It is of a subdivision ( subdivision administrative des Îles Marquises ) of the High Commissioner of French Polynesia (Haut- commissariat de la République française en Polynésie ) managed with its headquarters in Papeete. Ua Pou forms a separate municipality (Commune de Ua Pou ) with 2,157 inhabitants, the population density is about 20 inhabitants. / Km ².

The official language is French. Currency is (still) bound to the Euro CFP Franc. Capital and seat of local government is the village Hakahau on the north west coast. Other places are Hakatao, Hakamaii, Hakahetau, Hohoi and Haakuti.


In the capital Hakahau there is a medical center, a station of the Gendarmerie Nationale, the Port Authority, some small shops, a bank, a post office (with a satellite phone ), some private guest houses, restaurants, a Catholic and a Protestant church, a school with pre-and primary school ( école maternelle et primaire ) and a secondary ( collège ).

The villages are connected with only partially paved roads. Some settlements are still only accessible by boat to reach (as of 2001).

In the north of the island, between the villages Hakahau and Hakahetau, is located in a narrow valley cutting the asphalt, 830 m long runway (IATA Code: EAP). The Airstrip is a terror for pilots and passengers, as the short runway begins at the inlet characterized and ends in front of a mountain. Ua Pou is served by small aircraft of Air Tahiti (via Atuona on the island of Hiva Oa ). The airport is connected to the village Hakahau with a steep and winding, 10 km long road.

The Bay of Hakahau has a protected by a jetty port, which allows the start-up with smaller cruise ships.


The inhabitants live mainly from subsistence farming. Main food are still fish and other marine animals as well as yams, taro, breadfruit, coconuts, bananas and other tropical and subtropical fruits.

Tourism plays, although there are some private guest houses with modest comfort, economically only a subordinate role.


  • In Hakahau there is a small museum with a collection of art and cult objects of the island. In addition, a traditional house of the Marquesas ( tenai paepae ) is reconstructed on a residential platform.
  • The most remarkable building of Hakahau is the 1981 -built, dedicated to St. Stefan Church of Saint Étienne. The modern church is built on the basis of the traditional Polynesian style. The interior shows the high level of carving in the Marquesas. The extraordinary, boat-shaped pulpit is carved from the stump rooted in the soil of a giant tropical tree.
  • In several valleys are the remains of settlements of the Polynesian indigenous people who are recognized by their dense overgrown paepae ( home platforms). Only little of it is exposed or restored. The urbanization of the revered as divine Heato chief and his clan is in the Hakamoui Valley, which is, Mango and chestnut, pandanus and huge banyan trees overgrown wild romantic with coconut and fan palms. The widely branched plant covered the entire valley, although hidden in the dense vegetation residential and Zeremonialplattformen are not easy to detect. The related buildings from ephemeral materials are long gone. Charles of the stones believed to have the Zeremonialplattform identify ( marae ), was buried in the chief Heato. He photographed the skeletal remains of his grandson Teiki Teiuao that had been stored in a (preliminary) sky burial on the stone pedestal. An excellent example of the highly developed stone carving of the island is an expressive Tiki head of bright Ke'etu tuff at the front of a residential platform at the "Square of the young women " ( mata'aute'a ). Another interesting archaeological site is located in Paaumea valley to the west of the island. Interesting, but not easy to identify in the dense vegetation, the remains of a Tohua, a kind of political and ritual center with chief residence, meeting place and home ( ha'e ko'o'ua or Altmännerhaus ) house are the warriors (ha 'e toa ), Tattoo House ( ha'e patu tiki ), and cooking space ( ha'e kuki ).
  • On Ua Pou you can find so called "flower stones " ( or buy, because the locals know the sites better). These are rare Trachytsteine ​​with decorative as flowers looking inclusions.
  • Ua Pou is known for its excellent wood carvers. In Hakahau there are several talented artists who can watch the work and the works of art you can buy. Since 1987, the first arts festival in the Marquesas took place on Ua Pou, this has become a regular event that takes place annually at alternating venues.