Last Updated: Tuesday, 01 December 2015, 13:36 GMT

World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Pitcairn Islands

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 2007
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Pitcairn Islands, 2007, available at: [accessed 1 December 2015]
Comments In October 2015, MRG revised its World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples. For the most part, overview texts were not themselves updated, but the previous 'Current state of minorities and indigenous peoples' rubric was replaced throughout with links to the relevant minority-specific reports, and a 'Resources' section was added. Refworld entries have been updated accordingly.
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.


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.


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.


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.


None listed.


Minority based and advocacy organisations

Pitcairn Islands Study Centre

Sources and further reading

Connell, John, 'The End Ever Nigh: Contemporary Population Change in Pitcairn Island', GeoJournal, 16 (2), 1988, 193- 200

United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization Working Paper 2006: %20papers_2006.htm

Weingartner, G., The Pacific: Nuclear Testing and Minorities, London, MRG report, 1991.

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