By R. Bourdeix, V. Saena Tuia and Alofa Leuluaialii

This website returns the information collected during two scientific visits conducted in 2001 and 2010, on behalf the Ministry of Agriculture of Samoa, the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network, the Secretatiat of the South Pacific Community, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, Bioversity International and the French Centre for Agricultural Research and Development. The objective of the second visit was to secure the conservation of the famous Niu Afa cultivar, the longest coconut in the world.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Smallest Islands of Samoa

Theses pictures have been taken in March 2010 during the survey for collecting in garden and farmer's fields the Niu Afa famous coconut variety, during the visit of Manono island, and from the plane to Fiji. We still ignore the name of some of the smallest islands, on wich one to five coconut palms are generally planted. Anyway, some of these smallest islands are even too small for the Polymotu project, as we plan to plant Islands with at least 50 palms of the same coconut variety.

Nuulopa Island, an unamed island and  Apolima

The first and second photographs were taken from the extreme West of Manono Island. From left to right, this is Nuulopa Island, then a very small island with no name and only one coconut palm growing, then Apolima. Nuulopa belongs to a family which makes pay 7 Samoan dollars (Tala) for each visitor of the island. Anyway, we did not visit it because of bad weather. Four to 5 coconut palms have been planted there. Nuulopa seems too small in size for the polymotu project, for witch at least 50 palms are to be planted.


It was a day of bad weather
linked to arrival of the cyclone Tomas...



Apolima Island seen from the plane
It was not possible for us to visit Apolima. The island had a special church ceremony during the week where we wanted to go; the bad weather also limited the unique access to the island. Anyway, Samoan Agricultural officers will go to Apolima and discuss with people there about conservation of coconut varieties.
Apolima is situated in the Apolima Strait between the country's two largest islands, Upolu and Savai'i. The island is a rim of an extinct volcanic crater with a maximum height of 165 m. It is a little less than one square kilometer in size. There is one village settlement, called Apolima Tai, with a population of 75 (2006 Census).


Nu’utele Island

Nu'utele is an island which consists of a volcanic tuff ring situated 1.3 km off the eastern end of Upolu island, Samoa. It is the largest of the four Aleipata Islands, with a surface of 1.08 km². Together with Nu'ulua, a smaller island in the Aleipata group, the two areas are significant conservation areas for native species of bird life. Nu'utele, the third-largest of the seven islands, had the greatest proportion of native forest and harbored the most species of landbirds, including five not found on any other offshore island. Nu'utele features steep terrain with vertical marine cliffs up to 180 m high.
Valerie S. Tuia get the unverified information that many Niu Afa coconut plams were growing on the island of Nu’Utele. On the Thusday, 11th march, We tried to visit to the island but it was not possible due to bad weather brought by Cyclone Thomas. Anyway, we meet one influent member of the family who owns the island: Toomata F. Sagapolutele is working as consultant for the Oceania regional Solid waste Management project. 
Toomata indicated that I did not see Niu Afa coconut palms in the island, but some Niu Vai coconut palms. In the island, all the coconut palms are becoming senile, and he had the plan to cut them and plant new one. So the proposition of conserving a traditional coconut variety in the island indeed came at the right time, and it was welcome. Further negotiation will be conducted between Samoan Agricultural services and the owners of the island.
In the past, the “isolation properties” of Nu’Utele Island has been used in relation to the leper disease. In 1912, Germany established a leprosy station in the Samoan village of Falefa. New Zealand removed leprosy sufferers to the island of Nu’utele in 1918. The island was fertile and had fresh water. That year the worldwide influenza epidemic struck and Western Samoan lost 22% of its population, but ironically those isolated on Nu’utele were unaffected. In 1920 overtures were made to transfer the long suffering patients from Nu’utele to Makogai in Fiji. From this time, Nu’utele island remains uninhabited.

Nu’ulua Island
This island is located at the North East of Nu’utele Island. Nu'ulua is a small uninhabited island in the Aleipata Islands situated more than 1.3 km from the eastern end of Upolu in Samoa. Nu'ulua has a land area of 25 hectares and is a habitat for locally and regionally endemic birds including the endangered Tooth-billed Pigeon, (Didunculus strigirostris), and an endemic bat (Pteropus samoensis). Together with Nu'utele, another small island in the Aleipata Islands, the two isles hold the largest seabird colonies in Samoa and identified as highly significant sites for conservation. The conservation project has included efforts to eradicate the presence of Pacific rats (Rattus exulans) which prey on native insects, birds and lizards on the islands. These islets are remnants of eroded volcanic tuff ring. Ownership of both islands rests with customary chiefly titles in the villages of Aleipata on Upolu.

Namu’a Island
Namu’a is one of four small islands in the Aleipata Islands. Namu'a is a small uninhabited island off the east coast of Upolu island. The island is a 10 minute boat ride from Upolu and has beach fale accommodation for visitors. There are lookouts and it takes about an hour to walk around the island.

Fanuatapu Island
Fanuatapu is an uninhabited island which consists of a volcanic tuff ring, situated off the eastern tip of Upolu, Samoa. It is the smallest and easternmost of the four Aleipata Islands, and has a lighthouse.

Nuusafee Island



Nuusafee Island is located off the south east coast of Upolu island, near the village of Poutasi. It is also known as Satalo. We meet the Matai Jo Annandale at the resort “Sinalei”, and he was very interested by the idea to replant the island with the Niu Afa coconut variety.

Another small island, name unknown... with Valerie Tuia


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