Niue

Introduction Niue's remoteness, as well as cultural and linguistic differences between its Polynesian inhabitants and those of the rest of the Cook Islands, have caused it to be separately administered. The population of the island continues to drop (from a peak of 5,200 in 1966 to an estimated 1,492 in 2007), with substantial emigration to New Zealand, 2,400 km to the southwest.
History

Niue was first settled by Polynesian sailors from Samoa in around 900 AD.[1] Further settlers (or invaders) arrived from Tonga in the 16th century.[2]

Until the beginning of the eighteenth century, there appears to have been no national government or national leader in Niue. Before that time, chiefs and heads of family exercised authority over segments of the population. Around 1700, the concept and practice of kingship appears to have been introduced through contact with Samoa or Tonga. From then on, a succession of patu-iki (kings) ruled the island, the first of whom was Puni-mata. Tui-toga, who reigned from 1875 to 1887, was the first Christian king of Niue.[3]

The first European to sight Niue was Captain James Cook in 1774. Cook made three attempts to land on the island but was refused permission to do so by the Polynesian inhabitants. He named the island "Savage Island" because, legend has it, the natives that "greeted" him were painted in what appeared to Cook and his crew to be blood. However, the substance on their teeth was that of the red banana and not blood.[citation needed]

For the next couple of centuries the island remained known as Savage Island, until its original name Niu ē (coconut behold) regained use. Yet its official name is still Niuē fekai (wild Niuē).[citation needed]

The next notable European visitors were from the London Missionary Society and arrived in 1846 on the "Messenger of Peace". After many years of trying to land a European missionary on Niue, a Niuean named Nukai Peniamina was taken away and trained as a Pastor at the Malua Theological College in Samoa. 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 Peniamina 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 was spread to all the villages on Niue; 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 1887, King Fata-a-iki, who reigned from 1887 to 1896, offered to cede sovereignty over his country to the British Empire, fearing the consequences of annexation by a less benevolent colonial power. The offer was not accepted until 1900.

Niue was a British protectorate for a time, but the UK's involvement ended in 1901 when New Zealand annexed the island. Independence in the form of self-government was granted by the New Zealand parliament with the 1974 constitution. Robert Rex, CMG OBE (who was ethnically part European, part native) was appointed the country's first Premier, a position he continued to hold through re-election until his death 18 years later. Rex became the first Niuean to receive knighthood in 1984.

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

Geography Location: Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Tonga
Geographic coordinates: 19 02 S, 169 52 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 260 sq km
land: 260 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: 1.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 64 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; modified by southeast trade winds
Terrain: steep limestone cliffs along coast, central plateau
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location near Mutalau settlement 68 m
Natural resources: fish, arable land
Land use: arable land: 11.54%
permanent crops: 15.38%
other: 73.08% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons
Environment - current issues: increasing attention to conservationist practices to counter loss of soil fertility from traditional slash and burn agriculture
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: one of world's largest coral islands
Politics

The Niue Constitution Act vests executive authority in Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand and the Governor-General of New Zealand. The Niue Constitution specifies that in everyday practice, sovereignty is exercised by the Niue Cabinet of Ministers of the Premier of Niue and three other ministers. The premier and ministers are members of the Niue Legislative Assembly, the nation's parliament.

The assembly consists of twenty democratically elected members, fourteen of whom are elected by the electors of each village constituency. The remaining six are elected by all registered voters in all constituencies. Electors must be New Zealand citizens, resident for at least three months, and candidates must have been electors, and resident for twelve months. It is a requirement under law that anyone who was born in Niue must register on the electoral roll, however it is up to the elector whether to vote or not to vote on polling day. The candidates that have equal votes following the recount of votes, the winning candidate will be drawn out from the hat, this a legitimate and legal procedure. The Speaker is elected by the assembly and is the first official to be elected in the first sitting of the Legislative Assembly following an election. The new Speaker calls for nominations for the Premier; the candidate with the most votes from the twenty members is elected. The Premier then selects three other members to form the Cabinet of Ministers, the executive arm of government. The other two organs of government, following the Westminster model, are the Legislative Assembly and the Judiciary. Terms before new elections last three years, with the next election due on 7 June 2008 as part of the Niuean general election, 2008.

All Members of Parliament, past or present, are entitled to State Funerals. State Funerals may also be given as well to any distinguished individual offered the honour by the Premier and his Cabinet.

People Population: 1,444 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
Population growth rate: -0.032% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: NA
Death rate: NA (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: NA (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Niuean(s)
adjective: Niuean
Ethnic groups: Niuen 78.2%, Pacific islander 10.2%, European 4.5%, mixed 3.9%, Asian 0.2%, unspecified 3% (2001 census)
Religions: Ekalesia Niue (Niuean Church - a Protestant church closely related to the London Missionary Society) 61.1%, Latter-Day Saints 8.8%, Roman Catholic 7.2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 2.4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%, other 8.4%, unspecified 8.7%, none 1.9% (2001 census)
Languages: Niuean, a Polynesian language closely related to Tongan and Samoan; English
Literacy: definition: NA
total population: 95%
male: NA
female: NA
Government Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Niue
note: pronounciation falls between nyu-way and new-way, but not like new-wee
former: Savage Island
Dependency status: self-governing in free association with New Zealand since 1974; Niue fully responsible for internal affairs; New Zealand retains responsibility for external affairs and defense; however, these responsibilities confer no rights of control and are only exercised at the request of the Government of Niue
Government type: self-governing parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Alofi
geographic coordinates: 19 01 S, 169 55 W
time difference: UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: none; note - there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 14 villages at the second order
Independence: on 19 October 1974, Niue became a self-governing parliamentary government in free association with New Zealand
National holiday: Waitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840)
Constitution: 19 October 1974 (Niue Constitution Act)
Legal system: English common law; note - Niue is self-governing, with the power to make its own laws
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General of New Zealand Anand SATYANAND (since 23 August 2006); the UK and New Zealand are represented by New Zealand High Commissioner John BRYAN (since May 2000)
head of government: Premier Young VIVIAN (since 1 May 2002)
cabinet: Cabinet consists of the premier and three ministers
elections: the monarch is hereditary; premier elected by the Legislative Assembly for a three-year term; election last held 12 May 2005 (next to be held in May 2008)
election results: Young VIVIAN reelected premier; percent of Legislative Assembly vote - Young VIVIAN 85%, O'Love JACOBSEN 15%
Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly (20 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms; six elected from a common roll and 14 are village representatives)
elections: last held 30 April 2005 (next to be held in April 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of New Zealand; High Court of Niue
Political parties and leaders: Alliance of Independents or AI; Niue People's Action Party or NPP [Young VIVIAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, FAO, IFAD, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand)
Flag description: yellow with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant; the flag of the UK bears five yellow five-pointed stars - a large star on a blue disk in the center and a smaller star on each arm of the bold red cross
Culture Arguably Niue's most prominent artist and writer is John Pule. Author of The Shark that Ate the Sun, he paints both on canvass and on traditional tapa cloth.[10] 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.
Economy Economy - overview: The economy suffers from the typical Pacific island problems of geographic isolation, few resources, and a small population. Government expenditures regularly exceed revenues, and the shortfall is made up by critically needed grants from New Zealand that are used to pay wages to public employees. Niue has cut government expenditures by reducing the public service by almost half. The agricultural sector consists mainly of subsistence gardening, although some cash crops are grown for export. Industry consists primarily of small factories to process passion fruit, lime oil, honey, and coconut cream. The sale of postage stamps to foreign collectors is an important source of revenue. The island in recent years has suffered a serious loss of population because of emigration to New Zealand. Efforts to increase GDP include the promotion of tourism and a financial services industry, although the International Banking Repeal Act of 2002 resulted in the termination of all offshore banking licenses. Economic aid from New Zealand in 2002 was US$2.6 million. Niue suffered a devastating typhoon in January 2004, which decimated nascent economic programs. While in the process of rebuilding, Niue has been dependent on foreign aid.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $7.6 million (2000 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $10.01 million (2003)
GDP - real growth rate: 6.2% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,800 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 23.5%
industry: 26.9%
services: 49.5% (2003)
Labor force: 663 (2001)
Labor force - by occupation: note: most work on family plantations; paid work exists only in government service, small industry, and the Niue Development Board
Unemployment rate: 12% (2001)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (2005)
Budget: revenues: $15.07 million
expenditures: $16.33 million (FY04/05)
Agriculture - products: coconuts, passion fruit, honey, limes, taro, yams, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes; pigs, poultry, beef cattle
Industries: tourism, handicrafts, food processing
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity - production: 3 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 2.79 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 20 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 20.38 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports: $201,400 (2004)
Exports - commodities: canned coconut cream, copra, honey, vanilla, passion fruit products, pawpaws, root crops, limes, footballs, stamps, handicrafts
Exports - partners: New Zealand mainly, Fiji, Cook Islands, Australia (2006)
Imports: $9.038 million (2004)
Imports - commodities: food, live animals, manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, lubricants, chemicals, drugs
Imports - partners: New Zealand mainly, Fiji, Japan, Samoa, Australia, US (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $2.6 million from New Zealand (2002)
Debt - external: $418,000 (2002 est.)
Currency (code): New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Currency code: NZD
Exchange rates: New Zealand dollars per US dollar - 1.3811 (2007), 1.5408 (2006), 1.4203 (2005), 1.5087 (2004), 1.7221 (2003)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 1,100 (2002 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 400 (2002)
Telephone system: domestic: single-line telephone system connects all villages on island
international: country code - 683 (2001)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 1,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997)
Televisions: NA
Internet country code: .nu
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 900 (2002)
Transportation Airports: 1 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways: total: 234 km
paved: 86 km
unpaved: 148 km (2001)
Ports and terminals: none; offshore anchorage only
Military Military branches: no regular indigenous military forces; Police Force
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of New Zealand
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: none