Home to fewer than 2,000 people, the Pacific island of Niue is trying to encourage some of the 20,000 overseas Niueans – many of whom migrated to New Zealand – to return.
The coral atoll operates in free association with New Zealand, its main source of aid and biggest trading partner. All Niueans are New Zealand citizens with Wellington handling Niue’s defence and foreign policy.
Cyclone Heta devastated Niue in 2004. Fishing, agriculture and tourism are economic mainstays and the island attracts whale-watchers, divers and yachting enthusiasts.
Niue has embraced the internet, earning money from the sale of its suffix, and in 2003 became the first territory to offer a free wireless internet service to all residents.
Lying between Tonga and the Cook Islands, Niue was settled by Samoans in the first century AD. Britain’s Captain James Cook sighted the island in 1774 and British missionaries arrived in the 19th century. Niue was subsequently administered from New Zealand, becoming self-governing in 1974.
- Self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand
- Population 1,400
- Area 260 sq km (100 sq miles)
- Major languages Niuean, English
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 67 (men), 76 (women)
- Currency New Zealand dollar