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The nine Southern Group islands are home to nine out of 10 islanders according to the latest census.
They include the capital island, RAROTONGA where nearly three quarters of the population of the Islands live. Avarua is the administrative and commercial centre (locals just call it "town"; there are no cities in the Islands). Breathtakingly beautiful AITUTAKI has a stunning turquoise blue lagoon which includes the mini island or motu, One Foot Island (Tapuaetai) - twice voted as having one of the best beaches in the world. The rest of the group comprises ATIU, MAUKE and MITIARO which together are called Nga-Pu-Toru or "the three roots", PALMERSTON which is owned by the descendants of a 19th century Englishman and MANGAIA which is the oldest island in the Pacific. There are two uninhabited islands, MANUAE and TAKUTEA and access to them is restricted