|Nickname: Cherry Island|
NASA Satellite Image Geocover 2000
Santa Cruz Islands overview map
|Area||0.37 km2 (0.14 sq mi)|
|Length||0.876 km (0.5443 mi)|
|Width||0.576 km (0.3579 mi)|
|Highest elevation||65 m (213 ft)|
|Largest settlement||Mua village (pop. 200)|
|Pop. density||811 /km2 (2,100 /sq mi)|
Anuta is a small high island in the southeastern part of the Solomon Islands province of Temotu, one of the smallest permanently inhabited Polynesian islands. It is one of the Polynesian Outlier communities in Melanesia.
The island lies about 311 miles (501 km) to the east-southeast of Nendö. It is a small volcanic island with a fringing coral reef. The highest point on the island is 213 feet (65 m) above sea level. The island has a diameter of only about 820 yards (750 m).
Anuta was first mentioned in 1791, and the political and geographical circumstances led to isolation of Anuta's population.
According to oral traditions, Anuta was settled by voyagers from Tonga and 'Uvea about fifteen generations ago. The time frame of the migration is not precisely identified but is understood to be some time between the 10th century and the mid-13th century, although the arrival of the voyagers in Anuta could have occurred later. The pattern of settlement that is believed to have occurred is that the Polynesians spread out from Tonga and other islands in the central and southeastern Pacific islands. During pre-European-contact times, there was frequent canoe voyaging between the islands, because Polynesian navigation skills are recognised to have allowed deliberate journeys on double-hull sailing canoes or outrigger canoes. The voyagers moved into the Tuvaluan atolls, with Tuvalu providing a stepping-stone to migration into the Polynesian Outlier communities in Melanesia and Micronesia.
The current social structure was established about ten generations ago, when the chief, Tearakura, his two brothers, and one brother-in-law slew the remainder of the island's male population. These men, along with Tearakura's two sisters, were founders of the island's four kainanga, large descent groups that are sometimes described in English as 'clans'. Anglican missionaries arrived in 1916 and established a church, which plays an important part for Anutans, offering church services twice a day. During the 1990s, Anuta's advisors rejected western medicines on the island, arguing that it would indicate a lack of faith in the church.
The island has two systems for naming villages (noporanga, or "dwelling places"). In one system there are three villages called Mua, Muri, and St. John. Mua, meaning "front", is to the east. Muri, meaning "back" is west of Mua. After establishment of the Anglican church in 1916, a third village grew up to the west of Muri and took the name of the church, St. John. In the second system, Mua and Muri are combined under the name, Rotoapi, and contrasted with the new village which, in the second system, is called Vatiana. Anutans use the uninhabited island of Fatutaka, about 37 miles (60 km) to the southeast, as a place to hunt birds.
An important value in Anutan society is aropa, which emphasizes collaboration, sharing and compassion for others. The concept of aropa encourages islanders to share their finite resources equitably. Because Anuta's high population density has not had a severely negative impact on the island's ecosystem, Anuta has attracted interest from scientists interested in sustainability. The BBC documentary series South Pacific devotes part of an episode to the ability of Anutans to maintain their island's bounty, contrasting it with the environmental destruction found on Easter Island.
The Anuta tribe takes care to fulfil their needs with respect to the environment, to preserve it. At certain times they do not catch certain fish or hunt animals.
Anthropologist Raymond Firth visited Anuta for a day in 1952. Ethnobotanist Douglas Yen, along with archaeologists Patrick Kirch and Paul Rosendahl, spent about two months there in 1971, and anthropologist Richard Feinberg lived on Anuta for almost a year in 1972-73. He has remained in communication with the Anutan community from that time onward and has made several additional visits.
In January 2005 Italian documentarists Elisabetta (Lizzi) Eordegh and Carlo Auriemma sailed aboard the sailing boat "Barca Pulita" with a crew of four (including two doctors) and visited the island for one week. In 2006, Bruce Parry of the BBC visited for several weeks, during which he and his team filmed an episode of the TV show, Tribe. In 2008, another film team from the BBC made a brief visit, and in 2012 a team from the Seoul Broadcasting Service filmed a TV show there for a Korean audience.