RAPA AUSTRAL ISLANDS
The island of Rapa (or Rapa Iti) is the southernmost inhabited island of French Polynesia. It has a protected central bay and is surrounded by a ring of mountains; the island appears to be a sinking volcano with the bay as the caldera. There are with two villages located on the island: the main village of Ahurei and the smaller village of ‘Area. Within Ahurei there are 28 ridgetop fortresses, the best example of which is the fortress of Morunga Uta. Excavated in 1956 by William Mulloy from Wyoming and local helpers, this fort -as all the others too- would indicate local warfare by the 16th to 17th century. The two villages today have a combined population of 515 inhabitants and are famous throughout French Polynesia for their religious singing. Experience a folkloric presentation in Ahurei, or attend the local church and hear the singing.