The country Niue is affectionately known as 'The Rock of Polynesia' and is one of the largest upraised coral atolls in the world. Rising about 65 meters above sea level, with a landmass of 259 square kilometres in the centre of a triangle of the Polynesian islands, made up of Tonga, Western Samoa and the Cook Islands with a population of 1679 for the first quarter of 2006.
This compares with 20,145 residents of New Zealand who claimed to be of Niuean descent in the 2001 New Zealand Census. There is always a challenge of providing opportunities to meet the needs of the population of Niue, creating opportunities whether in employment or a better investment environment for the local population, remain one of our priority. Niue has an Exclusive Economic Zone of 293,988 square kilometres.
Niue is located 2400 km northeast of New Zealand, on the eastern side of the International Dateline and is 11 hours behind Greenwich meantime.
The island’s isolation and coral makeup create an exciting rugged coastline and reef which provides intimate swimming coves as opposed to the typical long stretches of sandy beaches so predominant elsewhere in Polynesia.
Thirteen villages lie along Niue's 67-km circular island road. The whole island is two tiered but is dotted with a myriad of caves that have yet to be discovered. Shaped like a saucer and rising only 65 meters above sea level, Niue is without streams or rivers, and therefore after rainfall the water filters through the porous coral out into the ocean completely devoid of any silt run-off. This allows the surrounding sea to be crystal clear with dive visibility often up to 70 meters.
The flora and fauna are spectacular with butterflies everywhere, and an abundance of bougainvillea, frangipani, hibiscus and orchids. A variety of ferns and profusion of 'crows nest' grow amongst wild rhododendron and poinsettia. There is a rich bird life with weka, swamp kens, parakeets and white tailed terns.
Niue lies in the zone of the southeast trade winds. Average temperatures from December to March are 27 degrees Celsius. April through to November has an average temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. The weather is generally pleasant all year round.
Legends tell of the first settlement by Huanaki and Fao, together with the Fire Gods from Fonuagalo (Hidden Land). Centuries ago Polynesian settlers voyaging by vakas (canoes) came from Tonga, Samoa and Pukapuka Island in the Cook Islands and their name for Niue was (Motusefua) as an island on its own.
The English navigator James Cook sighted Niue in 1774 but was refused landing three times by Niuean warriors. Cook departed but charted Niue and named it Savage Island.
Nukai Peniamina of Makefu landed at Uluvehi in Mutalau with the help of Toimata Fakafitifonua of Mutalau, introducing Christianity to Niue on October 26, 1846. European missionaries has been trying without success to land on Niue, Nukai Peniamina was taken away and trained as a pastor at the Malua Theological College in Samoa. Paulo a Samoan pastor later join Nukai Peniamina to contribute towards the spreading of the gospel to the other villages in Niue.
Niue chiefs gained British Protectorate in 1900, and in 1901 Niue was annexed to New Zealand. Niue gained self-government status in free association with New Zealand in 1974.
The people of Niue are Polynesians and enjoy dual citizenship, as a self-governing nation in free association with New Zealand. They are bilingual, speaking both Niuean and English language and enjoy an independent lifestyle. With a population of only 1679 for the first quarter of the 2006 Census), Niue remains safe, secure and clean. When you visit Niue you will be made to feel very welcome - not just as a tourist/visitor but as a friend or perhaps more than that.
Niueans enjoy a modern lifestyle, but traditional methods of subsistence farming of plantations, land hunting and fishing are still used.
A sound government infrastructure along with the latest services such as television and radio, direct telephone dialing, restaurants, motels, resort and two weekly international flights ensures that Niue is a "PRISTINE" place for a holiday as a developing international country. The standard of living in Niue is considered to be high among the Pacific.
We take pride in our many traditions and culture that have been handed down from generation to generation as a 'living entity'. Many are still being observed today such as our 'kaloama season' where seasonal 'sardine like' fish visit our shores. When the Kaloama run, some reef areas are closed from public swimming but there are still numerous other swimming pools and coves that can be used during that short period. You need only ask for guidance from locals or at the Niue Tourism Information & Booking Centre.