Nauru is a tiny island with a big history and even bigger hospitality
Nauru is officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the Central Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, 300 kilometres (186 mi) to the east. It further lies northwest of Tuvalu, north of the Solomon Islands, east-northeast of Papua New Guinea, southeast of the Federated States of Micronesia and south of the Marshall Islands. With 10,084 residents in a 21-square-kilometre (8.1 sq mi) area, Nauru is the smallest state in the South Pacific and third smallest state by area in the world, behind only Vatican City and Monaco.
Settled by people from Micronesia and Polynesia c 1000 BCE, Nauru was annexed and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the late 19th century. After World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. During World War II, Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops, who were bypassed by the Allied advance across the Pacific. After the war ended, the country entered into UN trusteeship. Nauru gained its independence in 1968.
Nauru is a phosphate rock island with rich deposits near the surface, which allowed easy strip mining operations. It has some remaining phosphate resources which are not economically viable for extraction.Nauru boasted the highest per-capita income enjoyed by any sovereign state in the world during the late 1960s and early 1970s. When the phosphate reserves were exhausted, and the island's environment had been seriously harmed by mining, the trust that had been established to manage the island's wealth diminished in value.
To earn income, Nauru briefly became a tax haven and illegal money laundering centre. From 2001 to 2008, and again from 2012, it accepted aid from the Australian Government in exchange for hosting the Nauru detention centre. As a result of heavy dependence on Australia, many sources have identified Nauru as a client state of Australia.
Nauru was first inhabited by Micronesians and Polynesians at least 3,000 years ago.There were traditionally 12 clans or tribes on Nauru, which are represented in the 12-pointed star on the country's flag.Traditionally, Nauruans traced their descent matrilineally. Inhabitants practised aquaculture: they caught juvenile ibija fish, acclimatised them to fresh water, and raised them in the Buada Lagoon, providing a reliable source of food. The other locally grown components of their diet included coconuts and pandanus fruit.The name "Nauru" may derive from the Nauruan word Anáoero, which means "I go to the beach."
Nauru is a 21 square kilometres (8 sq mi)oval-shaped island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, located 55.95 kilometres (35 mi) south of the Equator.The island is surrounded by a coral reef, which is exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles.The presence of the reef has prevented the establishment of a seaport, although channels in the reef allow small boats access to the island. A fertile coastal strip 150 to 300 metres (490 to 980 ft) wide lies inland from the beach.
Coral cliffs surround Nauru's central plateau. The highest point of the plateau, called the Command Ridge, is 71 metres (233 ft) above sea level.
The only fertile areas on Nauru are on the narrow coastal belt, where coconut palms flourish. The land surrounding Buada Lagoon supports bananas, pineapples, vegetables, pandanus trees and indigenous hardwoods such as the tomano tree.
Nauru was one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean, along with Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia. The phosphate reserves on Nauru are now almost entirely depleted. Phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged limestone pinnacles up to 15 metres (49 ft) high. Mining has stripped and devastated about 80% of Nauru's land area, and has also affected the surrounding Exclusive Economic Zone; 40% of marine life is estimated to have been killed by silt and phosphate runoff.
There are limited natural fresh water resources on Nauru. Rooftop storage tanks collect rainwater. The islanders are mostly dependent on three desalination plants housed at Nauru's Utilities Agency.
Nauru's climate is hot and very humid year-round because of its proximity to the equator and the ocean. Nauru is hit by monsoon rains between November and February, but does not typically experience cyclones. Annual rainfall is highly variable and is influenced by the El Nino–Southern Oscillation, with several significant recorded droughts.The temperature on Nauru ranges between 26 and 35 °C (79 and 95 °F) during the day and between 22 and 34 °C (72 and 93 °F) at night.
Fauna is sparse on the island due to a combination of a lack of vegetation and the consequences of phosphates mining. Many indigenous birds have disappeared or become rare owing to destruction of their habitat.There are about 60 recorded vascular plant species native to the island, none of which are endemic. Coconut farming, mining, and introduced species have caused serious disturbance to the native vegetation.
There are no native land mammals, but there are native insects, land crabs, and birds, including the endemic Nauru reed warbler. The Polynesian rat, cats, dogs, pigs, and chickens have been introduced to Nauru from ships.The diversity of the reef marine life makes fishing a popular activity for tourists on the island, as well as SCUBA diving and snorkelling.
The president of Nauru is Baron Waqa, who heads a 19-member unicameral parliament. The country is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Asian Development Bank and the Pacific Islands Forum. Nauru also participates in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. Recently Nauru became a member country of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Republic of Nauru became the 189th member of the International Monetary Fund in April 2016.
Nauru is a republic with a parliamentary system of government.The president is both head of state and head of government. A 19-member unicameral parliament is elected every three years.The parliament elects the president from its members, and the president appoints a cabinet of five to six members.
Nauru does not have any formal structure for political parties, and candidates typically stand for office as independents; fifteen of the 19 members of the current Parliament are independents. Four parties that have been active in Nauruan politics are the Nauru Party, the Democratic Party, Nauru First, and the Centre Party. However, alliances within the government are often formed on the basis of extended family ties rather than party affiliation.
Nauru has no armed forces, though there is a small police force under civilian control.Australia is responsible for Nauru's defence under an informal agreement between the two countries.The September 2005 Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and Nauru provides the latter with financial aid and technical assistance, including a Secretary of Finance to prepare the budget, and advisers on health and education. This aid is in return for Nauru's housing of asylum seekers while their applications for entry into Australia are processed.Nauru uses the Australian dollar as its official currency.
A significant portion of Nauru's income has been in the form of aid from Australia. In 2001, the MV Tampa, a Norwegian ship that had rescued 438 refugees from a stranded 20-metre-long boat, was seeking to dock in Australia. In what became known as the Tampa affair, the ship was refused entry and boarded by Australian troops. The refugees were eventually loaded onto Royal Australian Navy vessel HMAS Manoora and taken to Nauru to be held in detention facilities which later became part of the Howard government's Pacific Solution.
Nauru operated two detention centres known as State House and Topside for these refugees in exchange for Australian aid.By November 2005, only two refugees, Mohammed Sagar and Muhammad Faisal, remained on Nauru from those first sent there in 2001,with Sagar finally resettling in early 2007. The Australian government sent further groups of asylum-seekers to Nauru in late 2006 and early 2007.
The refugee centre was closed in 2008 but, following the Australian government's re-adoption of the Pacific Solution in August 2012, it has re-opened it.Amnesty International has described the conditions of the refugees of war living in Nauru, as "horror".
The Nauruan economy peaked in the early 1980s, as it was dependent almost entirely on the phosphate deposits that originate from the droppings of sea birds. There are few other resources, and most necessities are imported.Small-scale mining is still conducted by RONPhos, formerly known as the Nauru Phosphate Corporation.The government places a percentage of RONPhos's earnings into the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust. The Trust manages long-term investments, which were intended to support the citizens once the phosphate reserves were exhausted.
There are no personal taxes in Nauru. The unemployment rate is estimated to be 90%, and of those who have jobs, the government employs 95%.The Asian Development Bank notes that, although the administration has a strong public mandate to implement economic reforms, in the absence of an alternative to phosphate mining, the medium-term outlook is for continued dependence on external assistance.Tourism is not a major contributor to the economy.
In the 1990s, Nauru became a tax haven and offered passports to foreign nationals for a fee. The inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) identified Nauru as one of 15 non-cooperative countries in its fight against money laundering.
From 2001 to 2007, the Nauru detention centre provided a significant source of income for the country. The Nauruan authorities reacted with concern to its closure by Australia.In February 2008, the Foreign Affairs minister, Dr Kieren Keke, stated that the closure would result in 100 Nauruans losing their jobs, and would affect 10 percent of the island's population directly or indirectly: We have got a huge number of families that are suddenly going to be without any income. We are looking at ways we can try and provide some welfare assistance but our capacity to do that is very limited. Literally we have got a major unemployment crisis in front of us.The detention centre was re-opened in August 2012.
Nauru had 9,591 residents as of July 2016, making it the only sovereign state other than Vatican City with a population of less than 10,000.The population was previously larger, but in 2006 1,500 people left the island during a repatriation of immigrant workers from Kiribati and Tuvalu. The repatriation was motivated by wide-scale reductions in force in the phosphate mining industry.It is the least-populated country in Oceania.
58% of people in Nauru are ethnically Nauruan, 26% are other Pacific Islander, 8% are European, and 8% are Han Chinese. Nauruans descended from Polynesian and Micronesian seafarers. Two of the 12 original tribal groups became extinct in the 20th century.
The official language of Nauru is Nauruan, a distinct Pacific island language, which is spoken by 96% of ethnic Nauruans at home.
English is widely spoken and is the language of government and commerce, as Nauruan is not common outside of the country.
The main religion practised on the island is Christianity,two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic. The Constitution provides for freedom of religion. The government has restricted the religious practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Jehovah's Witnesses, most of whom are foreign workers employed by the government owned Nauru Phosphate Corporation. The Catholics are pastorally served by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tarawa and Nauru, with see at Tarawa on Kiribati.
ngam Day, held on 26 October, celebrates the recovery of the Nauruan population after the two World Wars and the 1920 influenza epidemic.The displacement of the indigenous culture by colonial and contemporary Western influences is significant.Few of the old customs have been preserved, but some forms of traditional music, arts and crafts, and fishing are still practised.
There are no daily news publications on Nauru, although there is one fortnightly publication, Mwinen Ko. There is a state-owned television station, Nauru Television (NTV), which broadcasts programmes from New Zealand and Australia, and a state-owned non-commercial radio station, Radio Nauru, which carries programmes from Radio Australia and the BBC.
Australian rules football is the most popular sport in Nauru, it and weightlifting are considered the country's national sports. There is an Australian Rules football league with eight teams.Other sports popular in Nauru include volleyball, netball, fishing and tennis. Nauru participates in the Commonwealth Games and the Summer Olympic Games.
Rugby sevens popularity has increased over the last two years, so much they have a national team Nauru national rugby union team sevens.
Nauru competed in the 2015 Oceania Sevens Championship in New Zealand.
Independence Day is celebrated on 31 January.
Literacy on Nauru is 96 percent. Education is compulsory for children from six to sixteen years old, and two more non-compulsory years are offered years 11 and 12.There is a campus of the University of the South Pacific on Nauru. Before this campus was built in 1987, students would study either by distance or abroad. Since 2011, the University of New England, Australia has established a presence on the island with around 30 Nauruan teachers studying for an associate degree in education.
These students will continue onto the degree to complete their studies.This project is led by Associate Professor Pep Serow and funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Life expectancy on Nauru in 2009 was 60.6 years for males and 68.0 years for females.
By measure of mean body mass index (BMI) Nauruans are the most overweight people in the world; 97% of men and 93% of women are overweight or obese.In 2012 the obesity rate was 71.7%.
Nauru has the world's highest level of type 2 diabetes, with more than 40% of the population affected.Other significant dietary-related problems on Nauru include kidney disease and heart disease.
All foreign visitors require a valid passport valid for at least 3 months, a 30 day tourist visa and proof of hotel booking or local sponsor in order to enter Nauru.
Nationals of Cook Islands, Fiji, Israel, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Samoa, Solomon Islands. Taiwan, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu may obtain a free visa on arrival.
All other nationals must obtain a visa from their local Nauruan embassy before departure. There have been rumours on the Internet that you can get in for up to three days without getting a visa, but that is not accurate.
Nauru's national carrier Nauru Airlines flies to Nauru International Airport from Brisbane (Australia), Tarawa (Kiribati), Kosrae (Micronesia), Majuro (Marshall Islands), Nadi (Fiji) and Pohnpei (Micronesia). Schedules change throughout the year; further details are available from the website.
Nauru is so small that it takes less than one hour to drive right around it. The airport runway cuts across three of the twenty kilometres of road. The only traffic lights on the island are used to stop the traffic and allow the plane to cross the road to the terminal! This is a favourite souvenir snapshot taken by visitors.
Traffic drives on the left. The 19km Island Ring Road circles the island. Drivers should be on increased lookout for animals and pedestrians while driving on the beltway. There is a community bus which travels around the island every hour or so during the day. Cars or bicycles can sometimes be rented from Capelle and Partners, the largest local supermarket.
The first official language is Nauruan, a distinct Pacific Island language. Some locals speak Tuvaluan or Gilbertese which are quite common around the island since these two ethnic groups have historically worked in the Nauru mining industry.
English - the second official language is widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes.
Anibare Bay where there are tropical beaches
Anibare Harbour, a 2000 project, was largely financed by the Japanese government
Parliament House and other Government buildings in Yaren, the unofficial capital of Nauru
Buada Lagoon a tropical body of water, and the only body of water on the island is a very picturesque spot in the lower middle of the island. It's a freshwater lagoon surrounded on all sides by dense palm trees and other vegetation. However the water is dirty and not suitable for swimming in. Still, a nice photo opportunity, and you can walk all the way around the lagoon as the sealed road circles it. To get there, take the road opposite the Od-N-Aiwo hotel, follow it until it branches, then go left. The road will lead you straight there.
Activities in nauru
Walk round the islands interior. Do the circuit - A sealed road goes all the way around the island so you can drive, ride or walk around an entire country! A drive takes about 25 minutes non-stop. A bicycle ride would take 2-3 hours and a walk maybe 6 hours. There is lots of nice scenery if not much to do and, going from either hotel, Chappelle & Partner department store right at the top of the island in Ewa district makes for a welcome break at halfway around.
Explore World war relics In Yaren. Spot the remains of Japanese guns, bunkers and pillboxes left over from WW2.
Climb Command Ridge, Nauru's highest point.
Watch the local teams battle it out at an Australian rules football match. The national game is played all through Saturday at the Linkbelt Oval sports field.
Fish: Head out to sea and try your luck at game fishing
Shop at Capelle & Partner, the only department store and largest business on Nauru island.
Swim in Anibore Harbour, which is the best bet for swimming, as most beaches are too shallow and rocky.
Nauru uses the Australian dollar ($) as its national currency. Cash transactions are the norm; credit cards are rarely accepted. There is only one ATM on the island which is situated at the Menen Hotel reception area.
Food is imported from Australia and arrives by ship and plane, usually every week as the vessels have been in operation regularly. There are lots of small "eating places", selling Chinese food. There is a fast food kiosk at Capelle's supermarket served by the locals and at Milton Ross supermarket served by Filipinos. There is also another fast food take away at McDon's, serving Filipino dishes.
Nauru has a serious obesity problem, as will become apparent as soon as you arrive. The decision to mine the phosphates led to almost complete loss of agricultural land, with the result that almost everything is imported. Such imported foods are usually processed and high in sugar and fat. Several studies have cited the country as the fattest in the world.
Dining in Nauru is a great experience. During your Nauru tours, enjoy all kinds of delicious and healthy dishes. Since, Nauru is an island nation, seafood is very popular in its restaurants. Most of the restaurants of Nauru offer delicious seafood dishes.
If you go to the restaurants in Nauru, you will be offered authentic dishes that are loved by all. The cuisine of Nauru is highly influenced by the cuisines of countries such as Germany, Australia, China and Britain. You can savour all kinds of mouthwatering dishes in the various restaurants and bars in Nauru.
Local owned restaurants Jules and Bay Restaurant are popular names in the list of restaurants and bars in Nauru. Jules serves seafood delicacies from mussels, oysters and whatever you love from the ocean. Bay Restaurant serves Asian delicacies and variety of pizza. Both places have various drinks to serve. There are many other restaurants in Nauru that are Chinese owned.
There are many food stalls on certain roadsides on the island where local sell barbecue serves of variety dishes. If you crave for barbecue, keep an eye out for the BBQ signs by the roadsides. Nauru cuisine is very light because of the high temperature. Another popular area to eat is at the Eigigu takeaway which serves local food. It is situated close to the Nauru Post office. Therefore, you will get to savour simple food items in the eateries of this country. The aroma and flavour of the delicacies of Nauru are unique to this country.
The dishes offered in Nauru are a treat to the taste buds. Sushimi, Coconut fish and Meat are one of their main foods. Cooked and smoked hams are also very popular.
The Reef Bar at the Menen hotel used to be the only bar in Nauru. It is situated at a walking distance of 30 minutes from the Od-N-Aiwo, the only other hotel on the island. It serves Australian beers, Chinese beer 'Tsingtao' and international spirits. The bar-room has a couple of pool tables, satellite TV and recorded music. It's lively at the weekends as there is local 'Live Bands' playing. There is also a huge flat screen allocated outside at the patio where there is a sea view at the background and guests and local friends sit and watch football game match live every weekends as part of their social outing.
There is a new bar on the island 'Jules' situated in Denig district that is privately owned which had recently opened in the late 2012. New faces will be enthusiastically welcomed by the locals and the expats will usually have a chat, too. No flip flops/thongs/shorts,enclosed sandals are OK. The usual clothes wear for men is collar T-shirts or floral island shirts and skirts/dresses for women. Standard clothing is highly recommended.
There are two hotels, the more expensive Menen on the east of the island and the budget Od'n Aiwo to the west.
Od'n Aiwo Hotel, PO Box 299, Aiwo District, Republic of Nauru On the coastal belt road, to the west side of the island, directly opposite the road inland to Buada. The less expensive of the two hotels on Nauru. USD40-80.
Menen Hotel, PO Box 298, Anibare District, Republic of Nauru (On the coastal belt road, to the east side of the island and south of Anibare Bay. The Menen is Nauru's largest hotel, boasting 119 rooms and conference facilities for up to 200. It possesses two restaurants and one the island's two bars. USD80.
If tourists want to move anywhere, remember that there is no island taxi or classic public transport. Can travel by track, or renting a vehicle from the local. Ideal for car rental in the hotel to ask where they are ready and able to deal. Paths intersect the whole island. Primary Highway leads around the island near the coast. The interior intersects have 5 main roads.
The international airport is located in the southwest of the island and has a good open road equipment. Transfer from airport to hotel Menen takes about half an hour. The loading port has resorted built passage and harbor to the west of the island near the construction steel beams that are delivered but now in a less extent phosphate mined is still supplied to cargo ships.
If you're already on the island, do not forget sun protection, sunscreen, hat, if you want to move beyond the interior of the rocks, you must have sturdy shoes. Besides the beach you will not be through in a bathing suit, therefore, appropriate dress for this purpose keep on hand. If you forget the insect repellent though, nothing happens. Surplus stores have such a range. NOTE: country have not large reserves of fresh water or electrical energy.
On the island can be found several species of trees and palms. Grown coconut palms are few and banana trees. One can also find several kinds of flowers and birds.
Tropical weather here ranges from 24 to 34°C degrees. The coastline is 30 km long and consists of typical appearance of beautiful fine sandy beach with blue sea and palm trees as soon as it ends with sand. In turn, the sea you can find the rich coral substratum, because the island was once just the coral. The area offers a view of the interior of the moonscape that was used for phosphate mining and logging continues to remain longer in the not so massive quantities.
Holidays and public holidays in the country:
- 1 January, celebrating the New Year as well as Easter in April and let's not forget Christmas. Christmas is a holiday on 25 December
- 31 January is celebrating Independence day
- 17 May is Constitution Day Foundation
- 25 September - Youth Day
- 26 October - Anga day, the day celebrating the return home.
Tourism on the island consists mainly tourists from Asia and especially Australians. It is not unusual, when the island gets the Europeans. Access to the island accompanied by the visa requirement. Visas have to buy each of the Commonwealth countries upon arrival but are now already included in the ticket price if you use regular flights to travel to the island.
Applicants outside the Commonwealth must write the request to the email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cash can not be changed at any point. Tourist visas are valid for 30 days and must be booked a hotel reservation or invitation from the local population. Some sources also inform about dispensing with the requirement of such invitations and reservations. The country uses the Australian dollar and what would be an advantage, in addition to local language, of course, speaks English..
Like many other Pacific Islands, Nauru is surrounded by a shallow reef with cut-outs through the reef providing access for boats and harbours, and there can be strong currents across the shallow water, moving boats in the harbours, and dangerous marine animals on the reef floor. Ask for advice before venturing into the water.
The trafficking of drugs and narcotics of any kind will be punished severely.
Although homosexual acts in Nauru were legalised in 2016, open displays of affection between same-sex partners may offend some.
Water supply in Nauru is dependent on rainwater collected into tanks from the roofs of houses and from an ageing reverse osmosis desalination plant.
Cenpac Net is the internet service provider (ISP). Mobile phone and data is available from Digicel wireless. Digicel uses 900 MHz for 2G/GSM and 3G/UMTS/HSPA+. 4G/LTE was started in December 2016 on band 3 (1800 mhz). The whole island is covered.
ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY IN NAURU