Flag of Niue

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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 about 2,100 in 2004), with substantial emigration to New Zealand, 2,400 km to the southwest.


Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Tonga

Geographic coordinates:

19 02 S, 169 52 W


total: 260 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 260 sq km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; modified by southeast trade winds


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: 15.38%
permanent crops: 11.54%
other: 73.08% (2001)

Irrigated land:

NA sq km

Natural hazards:


Environment - current issues:

increasing attention to conservationist practices to counter loss of soil fertility from traditional slash and burn agriculture

Geography - note:

one of world's largest coral islands


2,156 (July 2004 est.)

Ethnic groups:

Polynesian (with some 200 Europeans, Samoans, and Tongans)


Ekalesia Niue (Niuean Church - a Protestant church closely related to the London Missionary Society) 75%, Latter-Day Saints 10%, other 15% (mostly Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventist)


Niuean, a Polynesian language closely related to Tongan and Samoan; English

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



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


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)


19 October 1974 (Niue Constitution Act)

Legal system:

English common law
note: Niue is self-governing, with the power to make its own laws

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 migration of Niueans to New Zealand. Efforts to increase GDP include the promotion of tourism and a financial services industry, although Premier LAKATANI announced in February 2002 that Niue will shut down the offshore banking industry. Economic aid from New Zealand in 2002 was about $2.6 million.

Labor force - by occupation:

most work on family plantations; paid work exists only in government service, small industry, and the Niue Development Board

Agriculture - products:

coconuts, passion fruit, honey, limes, taro, yams, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes; pigs, poultry, beef cattle


tourism, handicrafts, food processing

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 (2000)

Imports - commodities:

food, live animals, manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, lubricants, chemicals, drugs

Imports - partners:

New Zealand mainly, Fiji, Japan, Samoa, Australia, US (2000)


New Zealand dollar (NZD)

Telephones - main lines in use:

1,100 est (2002)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

400 (2002)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):

1 (2000)


total: 234 km
paved: 86 km
unpaved: 148 km (2001)

Ports and harbors:

none; offshore anchorage only

Merchant marine:



1 (2003 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2003 est.)

Military - note:

defence is the responsibility of New Zealand