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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Niuafo'ou Island

This post is one of the Internet's most comprehensive posts regarding Niuafo'ou, an island belonging to TONGA in the South Pacific Ocean. Below are some facts about Niuafo'ou:

— Niuafo'ou is arguably one of the most interestingly shaped islands in the world! It is the site of a partially submerged volcano. Therefore, it is a volcanic rim island. — As you can see in the embedded Google Maps widget, Niuafo'ou's shape convinces me to whimsically name it Doughnut Island! It does have a neat alternate name — Tin Can Island — because residents receive their mail from tin cans thrown from passing ships!

— The Niuafo'ou Airport (International Air Transport Association airport code: NFO) is located in the island's northern section and features an unpaved east-west runway made of grass. It is also known as Kuini (Queen) Lavinia Airport.

— This is the Kingdom of Tonga's northernmost island, located east-northeast of Fiji, southwest of Samoa, and south of Wallis and Futuna.

— Being the home to about 500 to 600 island residents, Niuafo'ou is where the namesake Niuafo'ou language is spoken. Linguists believe this language is a dialect of East Uvean (Wallisian) and may or may not be related to the Tongan language. In addition to Niuafo'ou's native island speakers, about 1,000 other people can speak this language.

— Being the largest lake of Niuafo'ou, Vai Lahi is a crater lake almost shaped like a circle and is the island's central "bull's–eye" feature.

— Vai Lahi's islands: Lahi is the largest and located in the lake's north-central area; Molemole is the second-largest and located in the northwest; Si'i is the third-largest and located in the southwest; and A'ali is the smallest and is barely above the surface in the lake's western area. These islands are completely covered in forests and vegetation. In the Tongan language, motu means island, while 'otu motu means islands. An online Tongan-to-English (and vice versa) dictionary is found at

— Located east and northeast of Vai Lahi, "Nuafo'ou Isthmus" separates the largest lake from Vai Si'i, a lake located further to the east. The isthmus features two small lakes: Vai Inn Ngoto Umu (the larger lake) and Vai Fo (the smaller lake).

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