Pitcairn is of volcanic origin; it is approximately two miles long and one mile wide, and reaches an elevation of 340 meters (1,100 feet) at its highest point. Pitcairn’s area is approximately 1,200 acres (1.75 square miles). It has a rough, rocky, cliff-dominated shoreline with no safe harbour or anchorage. The land is hilly, but fertile (nowhere giving easy access to the sea), and the sea is rich in fish.
The climate is sub-tropical. The mean monthly temperatures vary from 19ºC (66ºF) in August to 25ºC (77ºF) in February.
The absolute range is 10ºC (50ºF) to 34ºC (93ºF).
The average annual rainfall is about 2.5 meters (81 inches) – July and August being the driest and November the wettest months.
Relative humidity is about 80%.
Pitcairn is a British Overseas Territory. Representing the UK is an appointed HMG Governor, based in New Zealand.
Locally, the Island Council, consisting of a Mayor, a Deputy Mayor and five elected members, tend to local governance matters.
The Pitcairn Island Office in Auckland, New Zealand, administers the Islands financial needs and tends to matters that cannot be dealt with on the Island.
For more information check out the government website here: Pitcairn Island Government Website
The Government primarily relies on immigration - passport and landing fees, the sale of stamps and coins and the sale of .PN domain names for revenue.
Private income is derived through government part-time jobs, or small industry activities. This includes honey production and export, the selling of craft items to visiting cruise ships and providing tourism services like accommodation, tours and the like.
Land formally was held under a system of family ownership, based on original division by Fletcher Christian and his companions, and modified after their return from Norfolk Island in 1864.
Up until recently each family had several plots of land for their home and gardens under a more traditional land use/ownership system.
In 2006, a land reform ordinance was enacted. This gave local government more effective land management controls and in addition, freed up 'locked land', for use by residents.
The population has been in a steady decline since the mid 1900's. As of 2013 it sits at 48 permanent residents.
Boosting this number is the Governor's full-time representative on island, and contracted professionals providing, education, policing, health, pastor and social services. Including professionals partners, the the population by 10 to a grand total of 60. Additionally, positive fluctuations (+ 2 to 3 on average) is typically due to long term visitors.
The only church is Seventh-day Adventist. Attendance has declined over the years due to new immigrants preferred other doctrines.
Pitcairn’s school system is based on the New Zealand curriculum, with one teacher assigned on a 12 to 24 month contract.
Education is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16 years.
In addition to the full-time contracted teacher, local teachers provide preschool and cultural lessons.
Higher education, either through correspondence, or boarding school in New Zealand, is available on application.
A qualified General Practitioner (GP) is contract to the island on a 12 -24 month basis.
The PI Medical Centre is well equipped to deal with emergencies and daily medical needs. As a precaution, expecting mothers are advised to see out the later stages of pregnancy in New Zealand.
In the event of a servere emergency, procedures are in place to evacuate. However, due to our isolation it can take several days to locate a necessary vessel.
There is no taxation on Pitcairn. It is expected all able-bodied persons undertake work as a civil obligation when needed. For example, on the quarterly supply ship's arrival, the unloading and processing of supplies .
Electricity is generated by a diesel power plant. Power is available between the hours of 7am and 10pm (15 hrs) each day, 7 days a week.
Power costs as of January 2013
|UNITS||COST PER UNIT - NZ$|
|Up to 210||0.60|
|between 210 and 250||0.85|
|Greater than 250||0.90|
In 2006 a major upgrade was undertaken to the island communications systems. This provided a 24 hour phone and internet service to each home, including government offices. This included the facility for video conferencing with government partners and service providers overseas.
Internet costs as of January 2013
|USAGE||COST PER MONTH|
|Low 0 - 399MB||$40.80|
|Medium 400 - 999mb||$61.20|
|High 1000Mb - 1999MB||$102.00|
|Super 2000Mb - 2999MB||$102.00 +20.4c / MB over 2000MB|
|Restricted over 3000MB||$102.00 +20.4c / MB over 2000MB cut-off 9am - 6pm|
The prodominate means of transport is the four wheeled quad bike. There are 2 ATV vehicles. These are ideally suited to the farm like terrain of Pitcairn.
Currently the island has the capabilities to transmit 2 out of a possible 10, satellite TV channels. A rotating schedule is employed so all taste are cartered to. Channels include international news, sports, documentary and movie channels.
Gardens are found in numerous places around the island. Sites are selected for soil type and exposure to best suit the crop being planted. Everyone tends to his, or her, individual garden needs – a hired tractor or dozer may do initial clearing and tilling. Garden maintenance is by hand hoeing and tilling. There are also numerous orchards which include oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, pawpaw, and avocado. Bananas grow tend to grow wild mostly in valleys.
Traditional foods and dishes, utilise the islands natural resources. These include; green bananas, potatoes, pumpkin, breadfruit, arrowroot, taro, yams, wild beans and corn. Coconut is utilised in many dishes.
Fresh fruit like passion-fruit, papayas, oranges, lemons, limes, melons, mangos, and pineapples is found in abundance.
Additionally, everyone tends a garden growing produce like tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, beans, onions, spinach and carrots.
Everyone makes their own breads, pastries and cakes.
Fish is abundant around Pitcairn. Popular fish are Nanwi, Red Snapper, Parrot, Tuna, Wahoo, Jack, Grouper, Whitefish, Trigger and many others.
Although small, the General Store stocks most essential and luxury items. This includes hardware items.
Travel and Supplies
Every quarter the Claymore II, a chartered ship, delivers necessary supplies like fuel, food, mail, food and medical supplies to the island.
Most supplies are packed and arrive in 6-foot steel shipping containers. Typically 12 containers, along with deck cargo like timber, arrive each quarter.
In addition, the Claymore II, makes 2 trips between Pitcairn and Mangareva in the Gambier Islands, to pick up and drop off passengers.
Over the last 24 months, there has been a dramatic increase in tourist numbers to Pitcairn. This is predominately due to a regular shipping service provided by the contracted vessel, Claymore II and emphasis placed on encouraging tourism on-island.
In addition, huge investments are being made into further developing the Tourism industry. The European Union is investing millions and millions of dollars over the next 6 - 9+ years in this sector. Although in its early stages, we are seeing increases in visiting cruise ships and importantly for Government revenue, they want to land their passengers on the island.
National Geographic and the PEW foundation are supporting us in creating the largest no-take marine reserve in the world. Although in early stages of planning, it is already attracting other scientific organisations and eco-tourists to the Pitcairn Island group.
For more information visit the Government Tourism website here: Pitcairn Island Tourism
Sights to See
Pitcairn Island has an incredible number of interesting places to see. There are the well known sights, like 'Bounty Bay', the final resting place of 'The Bounty', the centre of town we call the 'Square', and not to forget 'Christian's Cave'.
However, for a little place, there's a lot more to see than one might think. You will literally need days and days to take it all in.
'Ships Landing Point', provides spectacular views over 'Bounty Bay' and 'Adamstown'. From 'Garnet’s Ridge' you have an unobstructed vantage point across the western side of the island. 'Tedside' and 'Tautama' are reknown for early polynesian marae's. In additional Tedside is the home of our resident Galapagos turtle, 'Mz T'.
The 'Highest Point' is a popular spot for barbecue dinners. 'Saint Pauls', has the largest naturally occuring rock pool and is great for snorkling. There are guides available who will take you 'Down Rope', where you'll find ancient Polynesian Petroglyphs. Lets, not forget 'John Adams' grave, the 'Cemetery', The 'Mill House, 'Thursday Octobers' house site, the 'School', the 'Eco-trail', 'Sailors Hide', 'Tautama Lookout', 'Tom Block', 'Aute Valley' to name just a few.
Whether your a resident or visitor there's always plenty of
things to do to keep you entertained.
If the seas are good you can dive the Bounty or Cornwallis wrecks, or go deep sea fishing with a local. There's swimming at the famous St Paul's natural rock pool or rock fishing just along the coast line from Bounty Bay.
The more sporting could play a game of tennis out at the Aute Valley tennis and volley ball courts.
There's many kilometres of road, which provide excellent walking and scenic treks. The Highest Point, is ideal for an open fire barbecue, whether it be for lunch or dinner. It's also the best location to see an island sunset.
The more adventurous can spend a day Down Rope on the sandy beach, or simply take a stroll along the eco-trail.
Best of all, there's always an occasion which will be celebrated with a public dinner at the square. Bring what you have, all are welcome.
Public holidays are typically celebrated with the community getting together for a 'Public Dinner'.
Definition of 'Public Dinner' - bring what food you can, share and enjoy!
|1 January||New Years Day|
|2 January||Day After New Years|
|23 January||Bounty Day|
|March - April||Good Friday|
|March - April||Easter Monday|
|25 April||ANZAC Day|
|First Monday in June||Queen's Birthday|
|3 July||Pitcairn Day|
|11 November||Remembrance day|
|25 December||Christmas Day|
|26 December||Boxing Day|