Pitcairn is a volcanic island in the South Pacific Ocean approximately 2170 km east south-east of Tahiti. Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands are uninhabited. Fifty people live on Pitcairn Island, which does not have an airfield and is dependent on a decreasing number of passing ships for supplies. Since the Islanders have linked into the World Wide Web, contact with the outside world has increased, but the Islands remain one of the most remote and isolated communities in the world.

Henderson Island is a World Heritage site as it is one of the best examples of a raised coral atoll.


Pitcairn was first settled in 1790 when it provided a refuge for some of the mutineers from HMS Bounty and their companions from Tahiti. The majority of the current residents can trace their ancestry directly back to the Bounty crew, and the anchor from the Bounty still stands in the centre of Adamstown. The Island was uninhabited between 1856 and 1859 when the entire population of Pitcairn was resettled on Norfolk Island. However, two sets of residents returned to Pitcairn in 1859 and 1864 and the Island has remained inhabited ever since.


Pitcairn is administered by the Government of Pitcairn Islands (GPI), made up of the Governor's Office in Wellington, the Pitcairn Islands Office (PIO) in Auckland and the Pitcairn Island Council.  The major part of the general administration of Pitcairn is conducted by the PIO.

The Islanders live by fishing and farming and selling handicrafts to visitors and over the internet. The traditional income derived from the sale of postage stamps has reduced over recent years, and the Islanders receive budgetary aid from the United Kingdom Government.  The Pitcairn Government is trying to boost revenue through the sale of .pn domain names, honey production and increasing tourist arrivals.

map of Pitcairn Islands

Fact File

  • Position: South Pacific Ocean
  • Governor: Her Excellency Ms Iona Thomas OBE (resident in Wellington)
  • Administrators for Pitcairn: Fiona Kilpatrick and Steve Townsend (job share) 
  • Mayor of Pitcairn: Simon Young
  • Capital City: Adamstown
  • Population: 50
  • Language: English and Pitkern
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar