Rimatara is the westernmost of the inhabited islands of the archipelago of the Austral islands. In fact, the island is located west of Rurutu just north of the tropic of Capricorn. Rimatara which measures only 8.6 km² is a circular island with a bay in the southern part and has a population of 872 inhabitants (in 2017) gathered in three small villages, Mutuaura, Anapoto and Amaru.
Its highest point is Mount Uahu or Vahu, a small hill located in the center of the island which rises up to 83 meters in height. The island is surrounded by a coral reef, but has practically no lagoon because the reef is located close to the coast. The barrier has only one pass, called the Hiava pass.
The island has an agricultural economy, noni, taro, coconut and copra are produced there. Subsistence fishing is practiced by a large part of the inhabitants of the island. The island’s artisan products are highly appreciated, while tourism is still in an embryonic state, but the recent opening of a small airport could soon develop this activity in this remote island as well.
The first European to reach Rimatara was Captain Samuel Pinder Henry, who discovered the island in 1821. Therefore Rimatara was the last inhabited island of the Austral archipelago to be discovered by Europeans.
Not too far from Rimatara is the atoll of Maria or Hull. This is an uninhabited atoll, made up of four islands, located about 200 km north-west of the island of Rimatara.