Last Updated: Thursday, 03 September 2015, 15:54 GMT

World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Pitcairn Islands : Overview

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 2007
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Pitcairn Islands : Overview, 2007, available at: [accessed 4 September 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


The Pitcairn Islands include Pitcairn, Henderson, Dulcie and Oeno islands. Pitcairn, the only inhabited island, is a small, isolated high island in eastern Polynesia.


Main language: English (Pitcairnese dialect)

Main religions: Christianity (Seventh Day Adventism)

Pitcairn Islanders are mainly the descendants of the mutineers of HMS Bounty and the Tahitian women they took to Pitcairn in 1790. With a total population of just 47 people (headcount in 2003), there are no minority groups on the island.


There was substantial emigration to New Zealand during the latter half of the twentieth century, and Pitcairn now has perhaps the smallest population of any recognised political entity. Visitors must obtain a licence to land or reside in Pitcairn. In 2004 several island men were placed on trial for sex offences and six were given prison sentences. These sentences are still being appealed, over the extent to which British law applies to Pitcairn, the standard imprisonment of several men would pose labour problems for the small island.


Pitcairn is a British dependency administered by a Governor who is the British High Commissioner resident in Wellington, New Zealand. There is an Island Council. The economy is largely dependent on British aid supplemented by some sales of handicrafts and stamps.

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