2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Oceania (Australasia)

Flag of Niue
Flag of Niue
Official languages Niuean, English
Capital Alofi
Head of State Elizabeth II
New Zealand
High Commissioner
Anton Ojala
Premier Young Vivian
 – Total
 – % water

 260 km²
 – Total ( July 2006)

 – Date
Niue Constitution Act
  19 October 1974
Currency New Zealand dollar
GDP $ 7.6 Million
Time zone UTC -11
National anthem Ko e Iki he Lagi
Calling Code 683
Internet TLD .nu
Map of Niue

Niue (pronounced: "new-way") is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is commonly known as "Rock of Polynesia". The natives call it the Rock. Although it is self-governing, it is in free association with New Zealand. This means that the sovereign in right of New Zealand is also the head of state of Niue, and most diplomatic relations are conducted by New Zealand on Niue's behalf. Niue is located 2,400 kilometres north-east of New Zealand in a triangle between Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands.


European involvement in Niue began in 1774 with Captain James Cook's sighting (landing was refused) of what he named "Savage Island". Legend has it that Cook so named the island because the natives that "greeted" him were painted in what appeared to Cook and his crew to be blood.

The next major arrival was the London Missionary Society in 1846. Niue was briefly a protectorate, the UK's involvement being passed on in 1901 when New Zealand annexed the island. Independence in the form of self-government was granted by the New Zealand parliament in the 1974 constitution.

In January of 2004, Niue was hit by the fierce tropical storm Cyclone Heta which killed two people, caused extensive damage to the entire island, and wiped out most of South Alofi.

Niue has licensed the .nu top-level domain on the internet to a private company, but the company and the government of Niue now dispute the amount and type of compensation that Niue receives from the licensor.


The Niue Constitution Act 1974 (NZ) vests executive authority in Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand and the Governor-General of New Zealand. The constitution specifies that in everyday practice, it is exercised by a Cabinet of the Premier of Niue and three other ministers. The premier and ministers must be members of the Niue Assembly, the nation's legislative assembly.

The assembly consists of twenty democratically elected members, fourteen by the electors of village constituencies. The remaining six are elected the same way, except several constituencies are combined for each seat. Electors must be New Zealand citizens, resident for at least three months, and candidates must have been electors, resident for twelve months. The speaker is elected from among the members.


Niue is a 269 km² island located in the southern Pacific Ocean, east of Tonga. The geographic cordinates of Niue are 19°03′48″S, 169°52′11″W.

There are three geographically outlying coral reefs within the Exclusive Economic Zone, that do not have any land area:

  1. Beveridge Reef, at 20°00'S, 167°48'W, 240 km southeast, submerged atoll drying during low tide, 9.5 km North-South, 7.5 km East-West, total area 56 km², no land area, lagoon 11 meters deep
  2. Antiope Reef, at 18°15'S, 168°24'W, 180 km southeast, is a circular plateau approximately 400 meters in diameter, with a least depth of 9.5 meters
  3. Haran Reef (Harans Reef), at 21°33'S, 168°55'W, reported to break furiously, 294 km southeast
  4. Albert Meyer Reef, at 20°53'S, 172°19'W, almost 5 km long and wide, least depth 3 meters, 326 km southwest, not officially claimed by Niue
  5. Haymet Rocks, at 26°S, 160°W, 1273 km ESE, existence doubtful

Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. The terrain of Niue 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 of the island is the number of limestone caves found close to the coast.

The island is roughly oval in shape (a diameter of about 18 kilometers), 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, TePāPoint (or Blowhole Point) is located close to the settlement of Avatele in the southwest. Most of the island's population reside close to the west coast, around the capital and in the northwest.

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

Defence and foreign affairs

Niue has been self-governing in free association with New Zealand since 1974; Niue is fully responsible for internal affairs; New Zealand retains responsibility for foreign affairs and defence; however, these responsibilities confer no rights of control and are only exercised at the request of the Government of Niue. Niue has no regular indigenous military forces.


Niue's economy is very small with a GDP of around $7.6 million estimated in 2000. Most economic activity centres around government and work on family plantations. It uses the New Zealand Dollar and relies on New Zealand aid to sustain its government.

However, in August 2005 an Australian mining company, Yamarna Goldfields, has suggested that Niue might have the world's largest deposit of uranium. It has permission to drill on the island to confirm geological data that suggests the presence of a very large deposit. It will require government permission, however, to convert its prospecting licence to a mining lease.

Foreign aid, principally from New Zealand and also from Australia, has been the island's principal source of income. Tourism generates some revenue, but there is very little industry on the island. Remittances from Niuean expatriates, generally from New Zealand, constitute a significant proportion of Niue's income as well.

Government expenses consistently exceed revenue to a substantial degree, with aid from New Zealand subsidising public service payrolls. The government also generates some limited income from the sale of its postage stamps to foreign collectors. The government briefly flirted with the creation of "offshore banking" but, under pressure from the US Treasury, agreed to end its support for schemes designed to minimise tax in countries like New Zealand. Niue now provides an automated Companies Registration ( which is administered by the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development.

Niue's economy suffered from the devastating tropical Cyclone Heta of 2004.

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