Vangunu is an island, part of the New Georgia Islands in the Solomon Islands. It is located between New Georgia and Nggatokae Island. To the north and east of the island is Marovo Lagoon. The island has an area of 509 square kilometres (197 sq mi).

Vangunu Island seen from space
LocationSouth Pacific
Coordinates8°37′33″S 157°58′54″E
ArchipelagoNew Georgia Islands
Area509 km2 (197 sq mi)
Highest elevation1,082 m (3,550 ft)
ProvinceWestern Province
Population2212 (1999)
Pop. density4,35 /km2 (1,127 /sq mi)


The island is located at the southern end of the New Georgia Islands archipelago. To the north-west is the island of New Georgia and to the south-east is the island of Nggatokae. The largest saltwater lagoon in the world, the Marovo Lagoon, encircles most of the island. Vangunu is a volcanic island, dominated by an inactive Pleistocene stratovolcano [1] with a height of 1082 meters (3,550 ft), whose caldera slopes are now covered with thick jungle forest.

28 km to the south of Vangunu, lies the submarine volcano Kavachi, the only currently active volcano of the archipelago, and one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the south-west Pacific Ocean.

Flora and fauna

The island is home to the Vanganu Giant Rat, discovered in 2015, who is considered critically endangered, due to the small amount of forest habitat (about 80 km2) remaining on the island and ongoing logging.[2][3]


In 1999, the population of Rendova was estimated at 2,212 people. Most of the people of Vangunu speak Vangunu language, while those in the northern part of the island, around the Marovo lagoon, speak the closely related Marovo language. They live mainly by subsistence agriculture and are skilled at fishing.[4] The lagoon is a popular destination for diving.


On March 15, 1893 Vangunu was declared part of the British Solomon Islands protectorate. The island was occupied by the japanese army in October 1942, during the Solomon Islands campaign. From 30 June to 3 July 1943, it was the site of one of the first land battle of the New Georgia Campaign, the battle of Wickham Anchorage, during which a small japanese force was quickly mopped up by numerically superior allied forces.[5]

Since 1978, the island has been part of the independent state of the Solomon Islands.


  1. Dunkley, Peter; A Abraham, D; J Booth, S; W Hughes, G; Langford, Richard; R Philip, P; Ridgway, J; Smith, A; J Strange, P (1 January 1986). "The Geology Of The New Georgia Group, Western Solomon Islands" via ResearchGate.
  2. Young, Emma (27 September 2017). "Giant, tree-dwelling rat discovered in Solomon Islands". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2017.22684.
  3. "The Elusive Giant Coconut-Cracking Rat of the Solomon Islands".
  4. Robert E. Johannes and Edvard Hviding (2000). Traditional knowledge possessed by the fishers of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands, concerning fish aggregating behaviour (PDF). SPC Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin No. 12. pp. 22–29.
  5. "Pacific Wrecks".
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