Last modified: 2010-09-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: hao | tuamotu and gambier islands |
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Quoting the website of the Presidency of French Polynesia (page no longer online):
This big island in the central Tuamotu Archipelago is some 50 kilometers long and is located 920 kilometers (east of the island of Tahiti at 18º03'S and 140º59'15W. It is the administrative center of a district that includes the associated districts of Amanu and Hereheretue.
Hao has one of the largest lagoons in French Polynesia. Running from northwest to southeast for 55 kilometers, Hao has only one pass through the coral reef connecting the lagoon with the ocean.
Hao was an advanced base for the Pacific Nuclear Testing Center. Major infrastructures were built from 1963-1965. Hao served as a relay point for planes transporting certain delicate materials. It also served as an arrival point for the first examinations following nuclear tests. Hao was an atoll laboratory coming under the French Atomic Energy Commission. The economic development of the atoll explains its strong demographic growth rate. The population was 194 in 1962, jumping to 448 in 1977, then to 993 in 1971, to 1,286 in 1977, to 1,167 in 1983, to 1,156 in 1988 and finally to 1,412 in 1996.
The dismantling of the direction for nuclear testing centers was announced on Aug. 1, 1998.
The Hao airifield was transferred to the civilian authorities in 2000
while the military base was completely shut down in 2002.
Administratively, the municipality of Hao is made of 12 atolls forming three associated municipalities: Hao (1,222 inhabitants in 2002; main village, Otepa), Amanu (163 inh.; main village, Ikitake), and Hererehetue (57 inhabitants; main village, Otetou).
Ivan Sache, 10 December 2009
The flag of Hao is horizontally divided white-red-white with the name of the island written in black letters on the red stripe.
Chrystian Kretowicz & Ivan Sache, 18 December 2009