Niue (/ˈnjuːeɪ/ NEW-ay]]ēs an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand, east of Tonga, south of Samoa, and west of the Cook Islands. Niue's land area is about 261 square kilometres (101 sq mi) and its population, predominantly Polynesian, was about 1,600 in 2016. The island is commonly referred to as "The Rock", which comes from the traditional name "Rock of Polynesia". Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. The terrain of the island has two noticeable levels. The higher level is made up of a limestone cliff running along the coast, with a plateau in the centre of the island reaching approximately 60 metres (200 feet) high above sea level. The lower level is a coastal terrace approximately 0.5 km (0.3 miles) wide and about 25–27 metres (80–90 feet) high, which slopes down and meets the sea in small cliffs. A coral reef surrounds the island, with the only major break in the reef being in the central western coast, close to the capital, Alofi. A notable feature are the many limestone caves near the coast.
Niue is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand; and New Zealand conducts most diplomatic relations on its behalf. Niueans are citizens of New Zealand, and Queen Elizabeth II is head of state in her capacity as Queen of New Zealand. Between 90% and 95% of Niuean people live in New Zealand, along with about 70% of the speakers of the Niuean language. Niue is a bilingual country, with 30% of the population speaking both Niuean and English, though the percentage of monolingual English-speaking people is only 11%, while 46% are monolingual Niuean speakers.
Niue is not a member of the United Nations (UN), but UN organisations have accepted its status as a freely-associated state as equivalent to independence for the purposes of international law. As such, Niue is a member of some UN specialised agencies (such as UNESCO, and the WHO), and is invited, alongside the other non-UN member state, the Cook Islands, to attend United Nations conferences open to "all states". Niue has been a member of the Pacific Community since 1980.
Niue is subdivided into 14 villages (municipalities). Each village has a village council that elects its chairman. The villages are at the same time electoral districts; each village sends an assemblyman to the Parliament of Niue. A small and democratic nation, Niueans hold legislative elections every 3 years.
The Niue Integrated Strategic Plan (NISP), adopted in 2003, is the national development plan, setting national priorities for development in areas such as financial sustainability. Since the late 20th century Niue has become a leader in green growth; the European Union is helping the nation convert to renewable energy. In January 2004, Niue was hit by Cyclone Heta, which caused extensive damage to the island, including wiping out most of South Alofi. The disaster set the island back about two years from its planned timeline to implement the NISP since national efforts concentrated on recovery.
Until the beginning of the 18th century, Niue appears to have had no national government or national leader; chiefs and heads of families exercised authority over segments of the population. Around 1700 the concept and practice of kingship appears to have originated through contact with the Tongans who settled around the 1600s. A succession of patu-iki (kings) ruled, beginning with Puni-mata. Tui-toga, who reigned from 1875 to 1887, was the first Christian king.
The first Europeans to sight Niue sailed under Captain James Cook in 1774. Cook made three attempts to land, but the inhabitants refused to grant permission to do so. He named the island "Savage Island" because, as legend has it, the natives who "greeted" him were painted in what appeared to be blood. The substance on their teeth was hulahula, a native red fe'i banana. For the next couple of centuries, Niue was known as Savage Island until its original name, Niuē, which translates as "behold the coconut", regained use.
The next notable European visitors represented the London Missionary Society; they arrived on the Messenger of Peace. After many years of trying to land a European missionary, a Niuean named Nukai Peniamina went with his friend, Niumaga, to Samoa and trained as a pastor at the Malua Theological College. Peniamina returned in 1846 on the John Williams as a missionary with the help of Toimata Fakafitifonua. He was finally allowed to land in Uluvehi Mutalau after a number of attempts in other villages had failed. The chiefs of Mutalau village allowed him to land and assigned over 60 warriors to protect him day and night at the fort in Fupiu.
Christianity was first taught to the Mutalau people before it spread to all the villages.
In 1889 the chiefs and rulers of Niue, in a letter to Queen Victoria, asked her "to stretch out towards us your mighty hand, that Niue may hide herself in it and be safe". After expressing anxiety lest some other nation should take possession of the island, the letter continued: "We leave it with you to do as seems best to you. If you send the flag of Britain that is well; or if you send a Commissioner to reside among us, that will be well".%20by%20Kenneth%20Roberts]]he British did not initially take up the offer. In 1900 a petition by the Cook Islanders asking for annexation included Niue "if possible". ented to "Queen Victoria taking possession of this island". A despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies from the Governor of New Zealand referred to the views expressed by the Chiefs in favour of "annexation" and to this document as "the deed of cession". A British Protectorate was declared, but it remained short-lived. Niue was brought within the boundaries of New Zealand on 11 June 1901 by the same Order and Proclamation as the Cook Islands. The Order limited the islands to which it related by reference to an area in the Pacific described by co-ordinates, and Niue, at 19.02 S., 169.55 W, lies within that area.
The New Zealand Parliament restored self-government in Niue with the 1974 constitution, following a referendum in 1974 in which Niueans had three options: independence, self-government or continuation as a New Zealand territory. The majority selected self-government, and Niue's written constitution was promulgated as supreme law.
In January 2004 Cyclone Heta hit Niue, killing two people and causing extensive damage to the entire island, including wiping out most of the south of the capital, Alofi.
Government and politics
The Niue Constitution Act of 1974 vests executive authority in Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand and in the Governor-General of New Zealand. The Constitution specifies that everyday practice involves the exercise of sovereignty by the Niue Cabinet of Ministers, composed of the Premier and of three other ministers. The Premier and ministers are members of the Niue Legislative Assembly, the nation's parliament.
The Assembly consists of 20 members, 14 of them elected by the electors of each village constituency, and six by all registered voters in all constituencies. Electors must be New Zealand citizens, resident for at least three months, and candidates must be electors and resident for 12 months. Everyone born in Niue must register on the electoral roll.
Niue has no political parties; all Assembly members are independents. The last and only Niuean political party to have ever existed, the Niue People's Party (1987–2003), won once (in 2002) before disbanding the following year.
The Legislative Assembly elects the Speaker as its first official in the first sitting of the Assembly following an election.
Niue has been self-governing in free association with New Zealand since 3 September 1974, when the people endorsed the Constitution in a plebiscite. Niue is fully responsible for its internal affairs. Niue's position concerning its external relations is less clear cut. Section 6 of the Niue Constitution Act provides that: "Nothing in this Act or in the Constitution shall affect the responsibilities of Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand for the external affairs and defence of Niue." Section 8 elaborates but still leaves the position unclear:
Niue has a representative mission in Wellington, New Zealand. It is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum and a number of regional and international agencies. It is not a member of the United Nations, but is a state party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Ottawa Treaty and the Treaty of Rarotonga. The country is a member state of UNESCO since 26 October 1993.
Traditionally, Niue's foreign relations and defence have been regarded as the responsibility of New Zealand.
The people of Niue have fought as part of the New Zealand military.
Niue is not a republic but its full name was listed as "the Republic of Niue" for a number of years on the ISO list of country names (ISO-3166-1). In its newsletter of 14 July 2011, the ISO acknowledged that this was a mistake and the words "the Republic of" were deleted from the ISO list of country names.
Besides these, Albert Meyer Reef, (almost 5 km (3.1 mi) long and wide, least depth 3 m (9.8 ft), 326 km (203 mi) southwest) is not officially claimed by Niue, and the existence of Haymet Rocks (1,273 km (791 mi) east-southeast) is in doubt.
Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. The terrain consists of steep limestone cliffs along the coast with a central plateau rising to about 60 metres (200 ft) above sea level. A coral reef surrounds the island, with the only major break in the reef being in the central western coast, close to the capital, Alofi. A notable feature is the number of limestone caves near the coast.
The island is roughly oval in shape (with a diameter of about 18 kilometres (11 mi)), with two large bays indenting the western coast, Alofi Bay in the centre and Avatele Bay in the south. Between these is the promontory of Halagigie Point. A small peninsula, TePā Point (Blowhole Point), is close to the settlement of Avatele in the southwest. Most of the population resides close to the west coast, around the capital, and in the northwest.
Some of the soils are geochemically very unusual.
No adverse health effects from the radioactivity or the other trace elements have been demonstrated, and calculations show that the level of radioactivity is probably much too low to be detected in the population.
According to the World Health Organization, residents are evidently very susceptible to skin cancer.
Niue is separated from New Zealand by the International Date Line. The time difference is 23 hours during the Southern Hemisphere winter and 24 hours when New Zealand uses Daylight Saving Time.
The island has a tropical climate, with most rainfall occurring between November and April.
A leader in green growth, Niue is also focusing on solar power provision, with help from the European Union. However, Niue currently deals with one of the highest rates of greenhouse gas production per capita in the world. Niue aims to become 80% renewable by 2025. The Niue Island Organic Farmers Association is currently paving way to a Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) committed to making Niue the world's first fully organic nation by 2020.
In July 2009 a solar panel system was installed, injecting about 50 kW into the Niue national power grid. This is nominally 6% of the average 833 kW electricity production. The solar panels are at Niue High School (20 kW), Niue Power Corporation office (1.7 kW) and the Niue Foou Hospital (30 kW). The EU-funded grid-connected photovoltaic systems are supplied under the REP-5 programme and were installed recently by the Niue Power Corporation on the roofs of the high school and the power station office and on ground-mounted support structures in front of the hospital. They will be monitored and maintained by the NPC. In 2014 two additional solar power installations were added to the Niue national power grid, one funded under PALM5 of Japan is located outside of the Tuila power station – so far only this has battery storage, the other under European Union funding is located opposite the Niue International Airport Terminal.
Niue's economy is small.
The Niue Integrated Strategic Plan (NISP) is the national development plan, setting national priorities for development. Cyclone Heta set the island back about two years from its planned timeline to implement the NISP, since national efforts concentrated on recovery efforts. In 2008, Niue had yet to fully recover. After Heta, the government made a major commitment to rehabilitate and develop the private sector. The government allocated $1 million for the private sector, and spent it on helping businesses devastated by the cyclone, and on construction of the Fonuakula Industrial Park. This industrial park is now completed and some businesses are already operating from there. The Fonuakula Industrial Park is managed by the Niue Chamber of Commerce, a not-for-profit organisation providing advisory services to businesses.
The government and the Reef Group from New Zealand started two joint ventures in 2003 and 2004 to develop fisheries and a 120-hectare noni juice operation. Noni fruit comes from Morinda citrifolia, a small tree with edible fruit. Niue Fish Processors Ltd (NFP) is a joint venture company processing fresh fish, mainly tuna (yellowfin, big eye and albacore), for export to overseas markets. NFP operates out of a state-of-the-art fish plant in Amanau Alofi South, completed and opened in October 2004.
Niue is negotiating free trade agreements with other Pacific countries, PICTA Trade in Services (PICTA TIS), Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union, and PACERPlus with Australia and New Zealand. The Office of the Chief Trade Adviser (OCTA) has been set up to assist Niue and other Pacific countries in the negotiation of the PACERPlus.
In August 2005, an Australian mining company, Yamarna Goldfields, suggested that Niue might have the world's largest deposit of uranium.
Remittances from expatriates were a major source of foreign exchange in the 1970s and early 1980s. Continuous migration to New Zealand has shifted most members of nuclear and extended families there, removing the need to send remittances back home. In the late 1990s, PFTAC conducted studies on the balance of payments, which confirmed that Niueans are receiving few remittances but are sending more money overseas.
Foreign aid has been Niue's principal source of income. Although most aid comes from New Zealand, this is currently being phased out with reductions of NZ$250,000 each year.
The government briefly considered offshore banking.
In 1997, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), under contract with the US Department of Commerce, assigned the Internet Users Society-Niue (IUS-N), a private nonprofit, as manager of the .nu top-level domain on the Internet. IUS-N's charitable purpose was – and continues to be – to use revenue from the registration of.nu domain names to fund low-cost or free Internet services for the people of Niue. In a letter to ICANN in 2007, IUS-N's independent auditors reported IUS-N had invested US$3 million for Internet services in Niue between 1999 and 2005 from.nu domain name registration revenue during that period. In 1999, IUS-N and the Government of Niue signed an agreement whereby the Government recognised that IUS-N managed the.nu ccTLD under IANA's authority and IUS-N committed to provide free Internet services to government departments as well as to Niue's private citizens. A newly elected government later disputed that agreement and attempted to assert a claim on the domain name, including a requirement for IUS-N to make direct payments of compensation to the Government. In 2005, a Government-appointed Commission of Inquiry into the dispute released its report, which found no merit in the government's claims; the government subsequently dismissed the claims in 2007. Starting in 2003, IUS-N began installing WiFi connections throughout the capital village of Alofi and in several nearby villages and schools, and has been expanding WiFi coverage into the outer villages since then, making Niue the first WiFi Nation. To assure security for Government departments, IUS-N provides the government with a secure DSL connection to IUS-N's satellite Internet link, at no cost.
Agriculture is very important to the lifestyle of Niueans and the economy, and around 204 square kilometres of the land area are available for agriculture. Subsistence agriculture is very much part of Niue's culture, where nearly all the households have plantations of taro. Taro is a staple food, and the pink taro now dominant in the taro markets in New Zealand and Australia is an intellectual property of Niue. This is one of the naturally occurring taro varieties on Niue, and has a strong resistance to pests. The Niue taro is known in Samoa as "talo Niue" and in international markets as pink taro. Niue exports taro to New Zealand. Tapioca or cassava, yams and kumara also grow very well, as do different varieties of bananas. Coconut meat, passionfruit and limes dominated exports in the 1970s, but in 2008 vanilla, noni and taro were the main export crops.
Most families grow their own food crops for subsistence and sell their surplus at the Niue Makete in Alofi, or export to their families in New Zealand. Coconut crab, or uga, is also part of the food chain; it lives in the forest and coastal areas.
In 2003, the government made a commitment to develop and expand vanilla production with the support of NZAID. Vanilla has grown wild on Niue for a long time. Despite the setback caused by the devastating Cyclone Heta in early 2004, work on vanilla production continues. The expansion plan started with the employment of the unemployed or underemployed labour force to help clear land, plant supporting trees and plant vanilla vines. The approach to accessing land includes planning to have each household plant a small plot of around half to 1-acre (0.40 ha) to be cleared and planted with vanilla vines. There are a lot of planting materials for supporting trees to meet demand for the expansion of vanilla plantations, but a severe shortage of vanilla vines for planting stock. There are the existing vanilla vines, but cutting them for planting stock will reduce or stop the vanilla from producing beans. At the moment, the focus is in the areas of harvesting and marketing.
The last agricultural census was in 1989.
Tourism is one of the three priority economic sectors (the other two are fisheries and agriculture) for economic development. In 2006, estimated visitor expenditure reached US$1.6 million (equivalent to about $2M in 2018) making tourism a major industry for Niue. Niue will continue to receive direct support from the government and overseas donor agencies. The only airport is Niue International Airport. Air New Zealand is the sole airline, flying twice a week from Auckland. In the early 1990s Niue International Airport was served by a local airline, Niue Airlines, but it closed in 1992.
There is a tourism development strategy to increase the number of rooms available to tourists at a sustainable level.
The sailing season begins in May.
On 27 October 2016, Niue officially declared that all its national debt was paid off. The Government plans to spend money saved from servicing loans on increasing pensions and offering incentives to lure expatriates back home. However, Niue isn't entirely independent. New Zealand pays $14 million in aid each year and Niue still depends on New Zealand. Premier Toke Talagi said Niue managed to pay off US$4 million of debt and had "no interest" in borrowing again, particularly from huge powers such as China.
The first computers were Apple machines brought in by the University of the South Pacific Extension Centre around the early 1980s. The Treasury Department computerised its general ledger in 1986 using NEC personal computers that were IBM PC XT compatible. The Census of Households and Population in 1986 was the first to be processed using a personal computer with the assistance of David Marshall, FAO Adviser on Agricultural Statistics, advising UNFPA Demographer Dr Lawrence Lewis and Niue Government Statistician Bill Vakaafi Motufoou to switch from using manual tabulation cards. In 1987 Statistics Niue got its new personal computer NEC PC AT use for processing the 1986 census data; personnel were sent on training in Japan and New Zealand to use the new computer. The first Computer Policy was developed and adopted in 1988.
In August 2008 it has been reported that all school students have what is known as the OLPC XO-1, a specialised laptop by the One Laptop per Child project designed for children in the developing world. Niue was also a location of tests for the OpenBTS project, which aims to deliver low-cost GSM base stations built with open source software. In July 2011, Telecom Niue launched pre-paid mobile services (Voice/EDGE – 2.5G) as Rokcell Mobile based on the commercial GSM product of vendor Lemko.
In January 2015 Telecom Niue completed the laying of the fibre optic cable around Niue connecting all the 14 villages, making land line phones and ADSL internet connection available to households.
- Niuean(s) (noun)
- Niuean (adjective)
- Niuean 67%
- Part-Niuean 13%
- Non-Niuean 20% (includes 12% European and Asian and 8% Pacific Islanders)
- Ekalesia Niue (Congregational Christian Church of Niue - a Protestant church founded by missionaries from the London Missionary Society) 67%
- Other Protestant 3% (includes Seventh-day Adventist 1%, Presbyterian 1%, and Methodist 1%)
- Mormon 10%
- Roman Catholic 10%
- Jehovah's Witnesses 2%
- Other 6%
- None 2%
- Niuean (official) 46% (a Polynesian language closely related to Tongan and Samoan)
- Niuean and English 32%
- English (official) 11%
- Niuean and others 5%,
- Other 6%
Niue is the birthplace of New Zealand artist and writer John Pule. Author of The Shark That Ate the Sun, he also paints tapa cloth inspired designs on canvas. In 2005, he co-wrote Hiapo: Past and Present in Niuean Barkcloth, a study of a traditional Niuean artform, with Australian writer and anthropologist Nicholas Thomas.
Taoga Niue is a new Government Department responsible for the preservation of culture, tradition and heritage. Recognising its importance, the Government has added Taoga Niue as the sixth pillar of the Niue Integrated Strategic Plan (NISP).
Despite being a small country, a number of sports are popular.