Wallis and Futuna Flag

Wallis and Futuna Guide

Futuna and Alof Map
Futuna and Alofi Map

Futuna & Alofi

Futuna (not to be confused with an island of the same name in Vanuatu) is a volcanic island five km wide by 20 km long (64 square km). The narrow southwestern coastal strip is 200 meters wide at most. Gardens are planted on the mountainside, which rises abruptly from the sea, and the terraced taro fields are quite ingenious. High cliffs on the north side of Futuna delayed completion of the road around the island until 1992, and the steep, narrow road from Ono to the airstrip and beyond is quite a feat of engineering.

Kava drinking has died out on Wallis (people would rather watch videos) but on Futuna the men imbibe large quantities nightly at the tau'asu (kava meetinghouses) found in each village. The Sunday meal is usually prepared in an umu (earth oven). The Futunans have also preserved their traditional Samoan-related handicrafts, such as tapa painted with a black dye made from cashew nut or a brown stain from the seed of a red fruit. Pandanus mats, kava bowls (tanoa), war clubs, and outrigger canoes are also made.

Around 2,000 people live in Sigave Kingdom, which has the only anchorage for ships at Leava. Ono, between Leava and the airport, is the main village of Alo Kingdom with about 3,000 inhabitants. Two small hotels exist and the regular air service from Wallis makes a visit practical. Provided you know a little French and are willing to pay the price, it's a fascinating opportunity to see a part of the Pacific few English speakers know.