Mitiaro, formerly known as Nukuroa, is a low island with two lakes and vast areas of swampland.
Of the lakes, Rotonui is much longer and broader than Rotoiti. This surprisingly large lake is surrounded by an unlikely combination of pine trees and coconut palms. The lake bed is covered by a thick layer of black and brown peat, and the eastern shore is firmer than the western. On one side of the lake is the small, coconut-studded island of Motu.
Banana and taro plantations grow in the interior of Mitiaro and a stand of rare Mitiaro fan palms (iniao) remains in the south of the island.
The main export is maire eis (leis) to Hawaii and paths have been cut into the makatea to facilitate collection of the maire leaves. Like its neighboring islands, Mitiaro has a chronic water shortage.
Mitiaro receives fewer than 50 tourists a year and there are no motels or tourist cottages. Seabreeze Lodge, at the north end of the village, has one room with shared bath. Nane Pokoati, next to the ariki's house south of the church, also accepts guests.
Two small stores on Mitiaro sell canned foods and bread is at the bakery opposite the CICC church.
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