Manihiki (named for the island of Manihiki) was one of four tribes of five castaways that started the game on Day 1. In keeping with the season's racially-divided format, the tribe was comprised of all African-Americans. Manihiki's tribe color was yellow.
The African-American Manihiki tribe started the game with a cheer of "represent," eager to represent African-Americans and win the game for their race. However, the seemingly unified tribe quickly splintered due to the variety of headstrong personas in their midst: Sekou Bunch, in particular, quickly took over the tribe, with shoe salesman Nate Gonzalez as his second-in-command. This division along gender lines would later be noted by the women in the tribe. Rebecca Borman, meanwhile, struck up a quick friendship with actress Sundra Oakley. The pair would prove instrumental in finding the tribe's water source.
Fire was a constant stumbling block for Manihiki, and Sekou's bumbling attempts at leadership rubbed the women of the tribe the wrong way. The situation was exacerbated when Sekou began to take naps in the tribe's outrigger. At this point, Rebecca and Sundra began actively campaigning for the tribe leader's dismissal.
On Day 3, the tribes competed in the first Immunity Challenge, which involved putting together a boat, retrieving a flag at sea, returning to the beach, and completing a puzzle. Manihiki came in last, and were tasked with choosing the first castaway to be sent to Exile Island. Taking it upon themselves to make the decision, Nate and Sekou stepped away from the women and selected Jonathan Penner of the Caucasian Rarotonga tribe, for stealing a chicken from the members of Puka Puka as the game started.
Using the men's unilateral decision as leverage against them, Rebecca and Sundra attempted to persuade Stephannie Favor to vote out Sekou at that evening's Tribal Council. Stephannie, however, was hesitant to become the third wheel in an alliance that might dispose of her later on, and feared that eliminating the stronger men from the equation might ruin the tribe's chances in future challenges. Fighting her doubts, Stephannie voted along with the women at the first Tribal Council, and Sekou was eliminated 3-2.
Manihiki received a flint following Tribal Council, and on Day 4, Rebecca sparked the flame that would become the Manihiki tribe's first fire. Nate was careful to lay low over the next three days, wanting to prove himself useful as the last man remaining on the tribe. In spite of his added strength, Manihiki performed poorly at the Day 6 Immunity Challenge, and would likely have lost were it not for the Hispanic Aitutaki tribe throwing the challenge to be rid of Billy Garcia.
On Day 7, the Manihiki tribe was dissolved and its members were shuffled, along with the other castaways, into the newly reformed Rarotonga and Aitutaki tribes. Nate, Rebecca, and Stephannie all became members of the new Rarotonga. Sundra was the lone Manihiki member to join Aitutaki.
- Nate Gonzalez nicknamed the female members of the tribe "the Supremes".
- For the seven seasons that the twist was implemented, Manihiki is the only tribe to never have a member sent to Exile Island, even after a tribal swap. In Panama, members from both of the absorbed tribes eventually wound up on Exile, and in Cook Islands, numerous Rarotonga members were exiled, along with Yul Kwon, who was a member of Puka Puka and Aitutaki. The following seasons with Exile Island each had two tribes, and a member of each tribe was eventually exiled.
- Interestingly, the majority of the members of this tribe hailed from Los Angeles.
- Manihiki contained the first and last person voted out of the game.