Niue facts for kids

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Niue
Niuē
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Ko e Iki he Lagi  (Niuean)
The Lord in Heaven
The location of Niue in the West Pacific
The location of Niue in the West Pacific
Status Area of the Realm of New Zealand
and Associated State
Capital
and largest village
Alofi
Official languages
Demonym Niuean
Government Unitary parliamentary
constitutional monarchy
 -  Monarch Elizabeth II
 -  Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy
 -  Premier Toke Talagi
Legislature Niue Assembly
Associated state
 -  Self-government in free association with New Zealand 19 October 1974 
 -  Independence in foreign relations recognised by the UN 1994 
Area
 -  Total 261.46 km2
101 sq mi
 -  Water (%) negligible
Population
 -  2016 estimate 1,612 (235th)
 -  Density 5.35/km2 (n/a)
13.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $24.3 million (not ranked)
 -  Per capita $15,066 (not ranked)
Currency
  • New Zealand dollar
(NZD)
Time zone (UTC−11)
Drives on the left
Calling code +683
Internet TLD .nu
Niue ISS004
Niue

Niue (/ˈnj/ NEW-ay; Niuean: Niuē) is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand, and east of Tonga, south of Samoa and west of the Cook Islands. Its land area is 260 square kilometres (100 sq mi) and its population, predominantly Polynesian, is around 1,612 as of November 2016. They commonly refer to the island as "The Rock", a reference to the traditional name "Rock of Polynesia".

Niue, whose capital is the village of Alofi, 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 90–95% of Niuean people live in New Zealand, along with about 70% of the speakers of the Niuean language. A bilingual country, over 30% speak both Niuean and English, though the percentage of monolingual English-speaking people is only 11%, while 46% are monolingual Niuean speakers. Rugby is the most played sport in Niue. In October 2016, Niue officially declared that all its national debt was paid off, and that there is no longer any national debt in Niue.

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 full 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 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.

In 2003, Niue became the first country in the world to offer free wireless internet to all its inhabitants. Niue Island Organic Farmers Association is currently paving way to an MEA (Multilateral Environmental Agreement) committed to making Niue the world's first fully organic nation. A leader in green growth, Niue is also transitioning to solar power, with help from the European Union. In 2015, Niue started providing phone landlines to all of its inhabitants. In 2008, Niue became the first country in the world where laptops are provided to all its school students. A highly democratic nation, Niueans enjoy high freedom, with elections every 3 years. There are no political parties in Niue, all are independents. The last political party, Niue People's Party (1987-2003), won once, but was subsequently disbanded in 2003.

In January 2004, Niue was hit by Cyclone Heta, which caused extensive damage to the entire island, including wiping out most of the south of the capital, Alofi. The disaster set the island back about two years from its planned timeline to implement the Niue Integrated Strategic Plan (NISP), since national efforts concentrated on recovery. In 2008, Niue had yet to fully recover. 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 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 are the many limestone caves found close to the coast.

History

Niue was settled by Polynesians from Samoa around 900 AD. Further settlers arrived from Tonga in the 16th century.

Until the beginning of the 18th century, there appears to have been 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 appear to have been introduced through the contact with the Tongans who settled around the 1600s. A succession of patu-iki (kings) ruled, the first of whom was Puni-mata. Tui-toga, who reigned from 1875 to 1887, was the first Christian king.

The first European to sight Niue was Captain James Cook in 1774. He made three attempts to land but was refused permission to do so by the inhabitants. 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 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 were from the London Missionary Society, who arrived in 1846 on the "Messenger of Peace". After many years of trying to land a European missionary, a Niuean named Nukai Peniamina was taken to Samoa and trained as a Pastor at the Malua Theological College. Peniamina returned 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.

Inside.Church,Niue,Thomas Andrew 1896
Interior of church building in Alofi, 1896.
Photo by Thomas Andrew (1855–1939).

The island was visited by Captain John Erskine in H.M.S. Havannah in July 1849.

Christianity was first taught to the Mutalau people before it was spread to all the villages; originally other major villages opposed the introduction of Christianity and had sought to kill Peniamina. The people from the village of Hakupu, although the last village to receive Christianity, came and asked for a "word of God"; hence, their village was renamed "Ha Kupu Atua" meaning "any word of God", or "Hakupu" for short.

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". The offer was not initially taken up by the British. In 1900 a petition by the Cook Islanders asking for annexation included Niue "if possible". In a document dated 19 October 1901, the "King" and Chiefs of Niue consented 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 was 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, the situation of which is 19.02 S., 169.55 W, is within that area.

Self-government was restored by the New Zealand parliament with the 1974 constitution, following a referendum in 1974 whereby Niueans were given 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. Robert Rex, ethnically part European, part native, was appointed the first premier, a position he held until his death 18 years later. Rex was the first Niuean to receive a knighthood, in 1984.

In January 2004, Niue was hit by Cyclone Heta which killed two people and caused extensive damage to the entire island, including wiping out most of the south of the capital, Alofi.

Geography

See also: List of villages in Niue
Niue-cia-world-factbook-map
Map of Niue
CoralChasminNiue
Coral chasm in Niue
Niue Coastline
Niue's coastline

Niue is a 269 km2 (104 sq mi) raised coral atoll in the southern Pacific Ocean, east of Tonga. The geographic co-ordinates are . There are three outlying coral reefs within the Exclusive Economic Zone, with no land area:

  1. Beveridge Reef, at 20°00′S, 167°48′W, 240 km (150 mi) southeast, submerged atoll drying during low tide, 9.5 km (5.9 mi) north-south, 7.5 km (4.7 mi) East-West, total area 56 km2 (22 sq mi), no land area, lagoon 11 metres (36 ft) deep.
  2. Antiope Reef, at 18°15′S, 168°24′W, 180 km (110 mi) northeast, a circular plateau approximately 400 metres (1,300 ft) in diameter, with a least depth of 9.5 metres (31 ft).
  3. Haran Reef (Harans Reef), at 21°33′S, 168°55′W, reported to break furiously, 294 km (183 mi) southeast,

Besides these, Albert Meyer Reef, (20°53′S, 172°19′W, 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 (26°S, 160°W, 1,273 km (791 mi) ESE) 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 found close to 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. They are extremely highly weathered tropical soils, with high levels of iron and aluminium oxides (oxisol) and mercury, and they contain high levels of natural radioactivity. There is almost no uranium, but the radionucleides Th-230 and Pa-231 head the decay chains. This is the same distribution of elements as found naturally on very deep seabeds, but the geochemical evidence suggests that the origin of these elements is extreme weathering of coral and brief sea submergence 120,000 years ago. Endothermal upwelling, by which mild volcanic heat draws deep seawater up through the porous coral, may also contribute.

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. These unusual soils are very rich in phosphate, but it is not accessible to plants, being in the very insoluble form of iron phosphate, or crandallite. It is thought that similar radioactive soils may exist on Lifou and Mare near New Caledonia, and Rennell in the Solomon Islands, but no other locations are known.

According to the World Health Organization, residents are evidently very susceptible to skin cancer. In 2002 Niue reported 2,482 deaths per 100,000 people – far higher than any other country.

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.

Climate

The island has a tropical climate, with most rainfall occurring between November and April.

Climate data for Alofi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 38
(100)
38
(100)
32
(90)
36
(97)
30
(86)
32
(90)
35
(95)
37
(99)
36
(97)
31
(88)
37
(99)
36
(97)
38
(100)
Average high °C (°F) 28
(82)
29
(84)
28
(82)
27
(81)
26
(79)
26
(79)
25
(77)
25
(77)
26
(79)
26
(79)
27
(81)
28
(82)
27
(81)
Daily mean °C (°F) 26
(79)
27
(81)
26
(79)
25
(77)
25
(77)
23
(73)
22
(72)
23
(73)
23
(73)
24
(75)
25
(77)
26
(79)
25
(77)
Average low °C (°F) 23
(73)
24
(75)
24
(75)
23
(73)
22
(72)
21
(70)
20
(68)
20
(68)
21
(70)
21
(70)
22
(72)
23
(73)
22
(72)
Record low °C (°F) 20
(68)
20
(68)
20
(68)
14
(57)
15
(59)
13
(55)
11
(52)
11
(52)
15
(59)
15
(59)
11
(52)
17
(63)
11
(52)
Precipitation cm (inches) 26
(10.2)
25
(9.8)
30
(11.8)
20
(7.9)
13
(5.1)
8
(3.1)
9
(3.5)
10
(3.9)
10
(3.9)
12
(4.7)
14
(5.5)
19
(7.5)
207
(81.5)
Source: Weatherbase

Defence and foreign affairs

Toke Talagi
Premier Toke Talagi in Hawaii in 2011.

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:

Effect shall be given to the provisions of sections 6 and 7 [concerning external affairs and defence and economic and administrative assistance respectively] of this Act, and to any other aspect of the relationship between New Zealand and Niue which may from time to time call for positive co-operation between New Zealand and Niue after consultation between the Prime Minister of New Zealand and the Premier of Niue, and in accordance with the policies of their respective Governments; and, if it appears desirable that any provision be made in the law of Niue to carry out these policies, that provision may be made in the manner prescribed in the Constitution, but not otherwise."

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. However, in recent years Niue has begun to follow its own foreign relations, independent of New Zealand, in some spheres. It established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China on 12 December 2007. The joint communique signed by Niue and China is different in its treatment of the Taiwan question from that agreed by New Zealand and China. New Zealand "acknowledged" China's position on Taiwan but has never expressly agreed with it, but Niue "recognises that there is only one China in the world, the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of China." Niue established diplomatic relations with India on 30 August 2012. On 10 June 2014 the Government of Niue Press Release : Niue has now signed new diplomatic relations with Turkey. Honourable Minister of Infrastructure Dalton Tagelagi formalised the agreement over the weekend at the Pacific Small Island States, Foreign Ministers meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. The Memorandum of Understanding with Turkey, increases Niue's foreign relationship with countries including Peoples Republic of China, India, Australia, Thailand, Samoa, Cook Islands and Singapore.

The people of Niue have fought as part of the New Zealand military. In World War I, Niue sent about 200 soldiers as part of the Maori Battalion in the New Zealand forces.

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.

Information technology

Children in playground
Students using their OLPC laptops in the school yard.

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.

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. Three BTS sites will cover the nation. International roaming is not currently available. The fibre optic cable ring is now completed around the island (FTTC), Internet/ADSL services were rolled out towards the end of 2011.

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.

Culture

See also: Music of Niue
Niuean dancing
Niuean dancers at the Pasifika Festival.

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).

Demographics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook.

Population

year population
1950 4,667
1960 4,830
1970 5,130
1980 3,402
1990 2,332
2000 1,900
2010 1,620

Population growth rate

  • -0.03%

Nationality

  • Niuean(s) (noun)
  • Niuean (adjective)

Ethnic groups

  • Niuean 66.5%
  • part-Niuean 13.4%
  • non-Niuean 20.1% (includes 12% European and Asian and 8% Pacific Islanders)

Religions

Languages

  • 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%

Renewable energy

The European Union is helping Niue convert to renewable energy. In July 2009 a solar panel system was installed, injecting about 50 kW into the Niue national power grid. This is nominal 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 PV 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.

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