A joint New Zealand/French study is to be carried out in Futuna to determine how the island has been affected by tsunamis.
The two-year study, which has funding from France and New Zealand, will help devise possible protection.
Geoffroy Lamarche of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Wellington says in a first instance the researchers will look into the history of tsunamis in the French Pacific island.
"When we get an idea of when and how often they occurred, then we have got a much better understanding of the hazard associated with tsunami. At the moment we know Futuna has had some tsunami, but we don't really know when, how big they have been and we don't know where they have come from. So there is no action that can be taken in the long term for those people."
In the past decade in the Pacific, tsunamis have caused massive destruction in Papua New Guiena and Solomon Islands.