Nuku Hiva (sometimes spelled “Nukahiva”) is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It was formerly also known as Île Marchand and Madison Island.
Herman Melville wrote his book Typee based on his experiences in the Taipivai valley in the eastern part of Nuku Hiva. Robert Louis Stevenson’s first landfall on his voyage on the Casco, was at Hatiheu, on the north side of Nuku Hiva, in 1888. Nuku Hiva was also the site for Survivor: Marquesas, the fourth installment of the popular CBS reality television show in the US.
The coastline of western Nuku Hiva is characterized by a steep, but fairly regular coastline, indented occasionally by small bays leading to deep valleys, which lead into the interior. There are no villages on this side.The central part of the island is a high plateau called Tōvi‘i, covered primarily by a tall-grass prairie, on which experiments in cattle raising are taking place for the first time — 15 years ago all the cattle were wild and hunted with rifles.
Nuku Hiva is administratively part of the commune (municipality) of Nuku-Hiva, itself in the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands.
The administrative centre of the commune of Nuku-Hiva and also of the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands is the settlement of Taiohae, located on the south side of Nuku Hiva, at the head of the bay of that same name.