RIKITEA or RIHIREA is a small port town and tourist centre situated on MANGAREVA LAGOON, which contains a number of MOTU. It is about 1,650km southeast of Tahiti, to the north of the Tropic of Capricorn. The average elevation of the town is 26ft.
Black pearls are cultivated on numerous platforms of the MANGAREVA LAGOON, which is full of corals and black-lipped oysters are harvested by the people. The inhabitants are also involved in agriculture and fishing to the minimum level. The Church is involved in the technical school CED (Centre for Educational Development) to train people in skill trades such as carpentry, mechanics, electricity and mother-of-pearl shell engraving.
A Father Laval built 116 stone buildings and arches and roads were laid. The buildings included a fortified palace with FOLLIES and Saint Michael’s Cathedral , which has also been categorized as a FOLLY. The structures were built with shaped coral stone blocks. Several of the structures, dating to Laval’s time, still remain, such as the Watch Towers on the coast and a turret., the remains of the palace built for MAPUTEOA, the last King of the Island. King Maputeoa’s crypt is located in the Saint Pierre’s Chapel behind the neo-Gothic Saint Michael Cathedral.
The ROURO Convent, near the southern end of the cemetery, is now in ruins, but housed 60 nuns at one time. There is a carving school near the Cathedral at CAMIKA CED, which features mother-of-pearl carvings. Pendants and barrettes created here can be purchased at the centre’s sales outlet.
RIKITEA has a large nuclear fall-out shelter which was built at the time of the French Atmospheric Testing. The town also has a post office, a few shops, a military establishment, a medical room and schools.