189 kms/118 mls North East of Rarotonga
Access: Restricted. Written permission to visit is required
Population: 0 1.3 sq.kms/0,5 sq. mls
Twenty kilometres (12.4 miles) north west of Atiu is the tiny coral cay of Takutea. It's only 6 metres (20 feet) above sea level at the highest point and most of it's covered in coconut palms. Access (which is restricted) is only possible on the leeward side in calm weather as the island is surrounded by unbroken reef. Takutea is sometimes still called Enua-Iti which means Small Island. Captain James Cook recorded that name in his journal when he reached the island on 4 April, 1777 and sent boats ashore to collect food.
There is no commercial access. The island is administered by a Trust and special permission is needed to visit even for landowners. Takutea Trustees, the Atiu Trust, the Island Council and the National Evironment Service all have to be consulted and approve
The island has been designated a wildlife sanctuary. Thousands of red tailed tropicbirds and red footed boobies nest there and it's one of the most important sea bird breeding grounds in the Pacific region. The island is surrounded by a pristine, unbroken reef
No doubt the birds have thrived because Takutea is the only island in the Cooks never to have had a permanent population. Even when some of Captain Cook's crew went ashore over 240 years ago, there was no evidence of a permanent settlement, although they found some empty huts
Research scientist and expert diver, Graham Wragg was given speical permission to visit the island and he took away memories to last a lifetime
"I did not sail off the end-of-the-world after all! I found a magical little uninhabited island, where time stands still. Well, I sort of did, anyway.
We went diving at Takutea Wildlife Sanctuary and about fell over backwards within one minute of getting into the water - we had stumbled onto a divers paradise"
The agreement means no changes will be allowed to the natural environment for 20 years. The organisation - SeaCology - have previously funded environmental protection work on Mangaia.