Niue was first settled by Polynesian sailors from Samoa in around 900 AD. Further settlers (or invaders) arrived from Tonga in the 16th century.
Niue is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand, east of Tonga, south of Samoa, and west of the Cook Islands. Niue's land area is about 261 square kilometres (101 sq mi) and its population, predominantly Polynesian, was about 1,600 in 2016. The island is commonly referred to as "The Rock", which comes from the traditional name "Rock of Polynesia". Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. The terrain of the island has two noticeable levels. The higher level is made up of a limestone cliff running along the coast, with a plateau in the centre of the island reaching approximately 60 metres high above sea level. The lower level is a coastal terrace approximately 0.5 km wide and about 25–27 metres high, which slopes down and meets the sea in small cliffs. 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 are the many limestone caves near the coast.
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of more than 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians, and share many similar traits including language family, culture, and beliefs. Historically, they had a strong tradition of sailing and using stars to navigate at night. The largest country in Polynesia is New Zealand.
A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person who works aboard a watercraft as part of its crew, and may work in any one of a number of different fields that are related to the operation and maintenance of a ship.
Until the beginning of the 18th 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.(See: List of Niuean monarchs)
Captain James Cook was the first European to sight the island, but he was unable to land there due to fierce opposition by the local population. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica claimed this was due to native fear of foreign disease.In response, Cook named Niue the Savage Island.
Captain James Cook was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. He made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.
Christian missionaries from the London Missionary Society converted most of the population circa 1846. In 1887, King Fataaiki wrote to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, requesting that Niue be placed under British protection, but his request was turned down. In 1900, in response to renewed requests, the island became a British protectorate, and the following year it was annexed by New Zealand. Niue's remoteness, as well as cultural and linguistic differences between its Polynesian inhabitants and those of the Cook Islands, caused it to be separately administered.
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to proselytize or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.
The London Missionary Society was a predominantly Congregationalist missionary society formed in England in 1795 at the instigation of Welsh Congregationalist minister Dr Edward Williams working with evangelical Anglicans and various nonconformists. It was largely Reformed in outlook, with Congregational missions in Oceania, Africa, and the Americas, although there were also Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and various other Protestants involved. It now forms part of the Council for World Mission (CWM).
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India.
The island was visited by Captain John Erskine in H.M.S. Havannah in July 1849.
Admiral John Elphinstone Erskine was a Royal Navy officer and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1865 to 1874.
HMS Havannah was a Royal Navy 36-gun fifth-rate frigate. She was launched in 1811 and was one of twenty-seven Apollo-class frigates. She was cut down to a 24-gun sixth rate in 1845, converted to a training ship in 1860, and sold for breaking up in 1905.
150 Niuean men, 4% of the island's population, served as soldiers in the New Zealand armed forces during World War I.
Around midnight on Saturday 15 August 1953, Resident Commissioner Cecil Hector (Hec) Watson Larsen was murdered in his bed by 3 Niueans who had escaped from Niue's jail. Larsen (born 1908) had been Resident since 1943, and treated Niue as his own fief, using prisoners, whom he had arrested, convicted and jailed on minor charges, for labour in his own house and garden, or to chase and return his golf balls he hit on the prison farm. A 7pm curfew was imposed on all natives, and, although Niueans were prohibited (until 1964) from making, possessing or drinking alcohol (in early 1950 one Mohetu was given 90 days hard labour for possessing a bottle of yeast, an ingredient for home-brew beer), the European New Zealand colonial personnel often got drunk, and Larsen would taunt the prisoners while drinking in front of them. He also physically and verbally abused them (swearing was a jailable offence for Niueans), as did his wife Jessie.
In mid-1953, Folitolu (nicknamed Paoa (Power)), aged 26, had been frequently jailed or fined from his late teens for promiscuity and adultery offences, bad language, assault, escape from custody, and even ‘willful mischief taros’. Latoatama, nicknamed Suka (Sugar), was a 19-year-old first-offender, sentenced to 2 years hard labour for acting as lookout for a friend who had stolen sugar (another home-brew ingredient) from a Burns Philp store. A third prisoner, Tamaeli, was about 16, but had a much younger mental age, and little English, because of which he was more frequently physically abused by Larsen.
On the night of Saturday 15 August, Folitolu kicked out the fibro-cement roofing over the jail, and escaped, along with Latoatama, Tamaeli, Pelio Ikimotu, Taofitau and Loleni. A seventh prisoner, Laono, was asleep after drinking some whisky Tamaeli had stolen from Larsen. They escapees took a 21-inch machete from the jail cookhouse, and Folitolu cut the telephone wires. Taofitau and Loleni returned themselves to jail, while the remaining 4 approached Larsen's residency, and took two more machetes from his toolshed, leaving only Pelio, at his own choice, unarmed. The four men entered the residency via its garage and the three armed with knives slashed and stabbed Larsen in his bed. When Larsen's wife woke in the adjoining bed, her outstretched arm was also slashed. The Larsens’ 9-year-old son Billy was awakened by the noise and came out of his room, but was returned to it and locked in by Latoatama. The three murderers then escaped into the night, while the unarmed Pelio now returned himself to jail. Billy and his 17-year-old sister Telma raised the alarm, bringing the doctor and hospital matron, but Larsen died in his bed in the early hours of Sunday 16 August as they attended him.
The 3 murderers escaped to the southern coast of the island, evading a large and fairly chaotic manhunt, but gave themselves up to the native constable in the village of Vaiea at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday 20 August.
The three were tried on Niue by a rapidly constituted court and a panel of 2 European and 4 native assessors (this was not a jury, because it had no power to seek clemency) chosen by the local administration. The case was heard before Auckland magistrate Leonard George Herston Sinclair, made a judge of the Niue High Court for the occasion, and the government-appointed defence lawyer was Auckland lawyer Erl Travice Pleasants. The assessors took less than an hour to find the defendants guilty of murder, and they were sentenced to hang by Sinclair, whose normal powers in New Zealand were limited to maximum sentences of 3 years’ jail.
Local school teacher and returned serviceman Sitemi Luisi helped the defendants appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, which held a three-day hearing in Auckland, on Monday 27-Wednesday 29 October 1953. Three weeks later the court upheld the death sentences, even in the face of evidence that Tamaeli had a mental age of only 10, and denied further recourse to the Court of Appeal.
Niueans in Niue and New Zealand, King Koroki Mahuta (the Maori king), as well as churches, unions, and other groups, began to petition the government for clemency from late 1953. Public unease at the recent reintroduction of capital punishment was heightened when, in a single announcement, the Prime Minister Sidney Holland refused to commute the Niueans’ death sentences, but did commute to life imprisonment a death sentence on a European murderer who had strangled to elderly Napier women as part of a robbery to pay her gambling debts. The Auckland Star ran editorials suggesting latent racism in the justice system in both New Zealand and the Cook Islands, such that 3 Europeans convicted of the same crime would never be hanged. In February 1954, more fuel was added to this fire when another European, who had stabbed to death his pregnant girlfriend, was reprieved, while ‘Darkie’ Whiteland, a mentally disturbed Maori was hanged.
Niueans were solidly against the hangings occurring on Niue. The New Zealand government had already tried to enact legislation to allow the hangings to occur in New Zealand, but this fell through, so on 31 December 1953, the 3 were shipped to Samoa to hang, out of the way during the Queen Elizabeth II's coronation tour of the Commonwealth.
By March and April 1954, more organisations were petitioning the government for clemency: the Wellington Citizens Niue Islanders Committee, the United Committee to Save the Niue Islanders, the Australia-New Zealand Civil Liberties Society, the Howard League, the London Missionary Society, the YMCA, University Teachers’ Association, the Saddlers’ Union and even the British Anti-Slavery Society; authorities on the Pacific Islands weighed in too: historian Dr. J.C. Beaglehole and his brother, anthropologist Dr. Ernest Beaglehole.
On 11 May 1954, the Privy Council accepted two petitions for an appeal hearing, but the same day dismissed them both without comment, and this refusal was confirmed two days later by HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, HRH Princess Margaret and HRH The Duke of Gloucester.
With an election looming, and the opposition Labour Party under Walter Nash increasingly critical of the government's stance, Holland was desperate to end the drawn-out controversy. Attempts to have the hangings take place in the Cook Islands, on Aitutaki or the even more remote Manuae (a former prison island) were rebuffed by the Cook Islands resident. Then a landslide at a quarry at Hakupu on Niue killed two men and injured two others, so that local feelings there were redoubled against the hangings occurring on the island. Finally on Tuesday 18 May 1954, Holland capitulates, and acting Minister of Justice, Jack T. Watts, signs a commutation to life imprisonment for all 3 of the murderers, to be served in Mt Eden jail. They were shipped back from Samoa and entered Mt Eden on 28 May 1954.
A person under a life sentence at the time became eligible for parole after 7 years. Arrangements towards this began in 1960. In April 1960, after 6 years in Mount Eden working as a mailbag machinist, Tamaeli was moved to Paparua Prison, Christchurch, where he tended poultry. Then on 5 May 1964, was sent back to Niue aboard the Tofua. Initially quartered at Niue's Fonuakula prison, he was freed on 31 August 1964, to live in his home village of Liku, although still required to report weekly, later every 8 weeks, to police. He married and after a short stint in the Public Works department became self-employed, working with his adoptive father on a timber plantation. But before his probation was due to end in 1969, Tamaeli was swept off a rock ledge while fishing on 23 November 1968, and drowned.
In January 1961, Folitolu was moved to New Plymouth jail and then in February 1963 to Tongariro prison farm. In 1966 the parole board recommended he be returned to Niue, but later that year he was transferred back to New Plymouth for ‘misconduct’, which the Justice Department recognised was due to frustration at an imminent release increasingly delayed. In 1967, aged 40, he was again recommended for release back to Niue, but again delays occurred. Since 1961 his health had begun to decline. Official fears, including by Robert Rex, later a premier of independent Niue, that he would cause trouble on Niue resulted in the Niue Amendment Act 1968, which allowed former prisoners to be returned to New Zealand if they reoffended. bureaucratic wrangling continued and despite New Zealand being a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which prohibited exile as a punishment, Folitolu was released at the end of 1970, after 18 years in custody, on condition that he remain in New Zealand, prohibited from returning to Niue. Scott (p. 159) notes “In effect a political prisoner for all the year endured after the standard sentence [7 years] had been served, he was held for those additional ten years for no other reason than for the convenience (or the satisfaction) of the officers and collaborators of a colonial power.” Even in 1992, several of Scott's interviewees were annoyed that the death sentences had not been carried out, and that the three had been released at all. A note in the Department of Island Territories file dated 28 January 1971 states Folitolu was “living in New Plymouth and appears to be doing alright”. His later fate is not recorded by Scott, but he appears to have died before 1991.
Latoatama elected to stay in Mt Eden because of a brother, Kakau Taupa, and sister in Auckland who visited him. But now separated from fellow countrymen, and with limited English, he became increasingly introspective and compulsive, spending 2 hours each night polishing his boots. In 1966 he was moved to Waikeria Youth Centre, and finally released in 1968, and allowed to remain in New Zealand. Living with girlfriend Mesulama (Inele) Soloutana, he began work in a Christchurch mattress factory, where he lost his left index finger in a machinery accident. He never returned to Niue and died of cancer in September 1991, according to Scott (p. 153) “the last survivor of the Niuean three”.
Niue gained its autonomy in 1974 in free association with New Zealand, which handles the island's military and foreign affairs. Niue had been offered autonomy in 1965 (along with the Cook Islands, which accepted), but had asked for its autonomy to be deferred another decade.
Niueans continue to be New Zealand citizens, and use standard New Zealand passports. Niueans who meet normal residence criteria in either country may vote or stand in that country's elections. Niue continues to use New Zealand currency, but issues its own postage stamps (New Zealand stamps are not valid for postage in Niue, nor Niuean stamps in New Zealand).
In January 2004, Niue was struck by a devastating cyclone (Cyclone Heta) which left 200 of the islands' 1600 inhabitants homeless. As a number of local residents chose afterwards not to rebuild, New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff speculated that Niue's status as a self-governing nation in free association with New Zealand might come into question if too many residents departed the island to maintain basic services. Soon afterwards, Niue Premier Young Vivian categorically rejected the possibility of altering the existing relationship with New Zealand.
The population of the island continues to drop (from a peak of 5,200 in 1966 to 2,100 in 2000), with substantial emigration to New Zealand.
Pacific Islanders or Pasifikas, are the peoples of the Pacific Islands. It is a geographic and often ethnic/racial term to describe the inhabitants of any of the three major sub-regions of Oceania: Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. These people speak various Austronesian languages. New Zealand has the largest concentration of Pacific Islanders in the world. However, the majority of its people are not identified as Pacific Islanders—instead during the 20th century and into the 21st century the country saw a steady stream of immigration from Polynesian countries such as Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Niue and French Polynesia.
Niuean is a Polynesian language, belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of the Austronesian languages. It is most closely related to Tongan and slightly more distantly to other Polynesian languages such as Māori, Sāmoan, and Hawaiʻian. Together, Tongan and Niuean form the Tongic subgroup of the Polynesian languages. Niuean also has a number of influences from Samoan and Eastern Polynesian languages.
The Department of Corrections (Corrections) is the public service department of New Zealand charged with managing the New Zealand corrections system. Corrections' role and functions were defined and clarified with the passing of the Corrections Act 2004. In early 2006, Corrections officially adopted the Māori name Ara Poutama Aotearoa.
Taito Phillip Hans Field is a Samoan New Zealand politician. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for South Auckland electorates from 1993 to 2008. Field was a minister outside Cabinet in a Labour-led government from 2003 to 2005. Following charges of bribery and perverting the course of justice, he was defeated in the New Zealand general election, 2008. He was found guilty on some of the charges in August 2009 and was sentenced to six years jail in October 2009.
Mount Eden Prisons consists of two separate facilities in the Auckland, New Zealand suburb of Mount Eden — the Mount Eden Prison and the Mount Eden Corrections Facility.
The Niue Assembly is the legislature of Niue. It consists of 20 members; 14 representatives of the villages and 6 elected on a common roll. Members are directly elected by universal suffrage, and serve a three-year term. Niue follows the Westminster system of government, with the Premier elected by the Assembly and the Cabinet drawn from it.
The Niue Island national rugby union team is the national team of the third tier rugby union playing nation of Niue Island. The team first started playing in 1983 in mainly competes in the Oceania Cup, which it won in 2008. Rugby union in Niue Island is administered by the Niue Rugby Football Union.
Frank Eneri Bunce is a retired New Zealand rugby union player and current coach. He played international rugby for both Western Samoa and New Zealand in the 1990s, appearing in the 1991 and 1995 World Cups. He played in four international matches for Samoa and 55 for New Zealand.
Nukai Peniamina was a Niuean who brought Christianity to the island of Niue in 1846.
Avatele, formerly known as Oneonepata Matavaihala, is one of the fourteen villages of Niue, located on the southwest coast, with a population of 139 residents as of 2011.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Niue:
The Niue Star is a weekly Niuean newspaper, founded in 1993. It is Niue's only newspaper. Its founder, owner, editor, journalist and photographer is Michael Jackson. The newspaper is distributed in Niue, New Zealand and Australia, and has a circulation of 800. It is a bilingual newspaper, published both in English and in Niuean.
Naea Michael Jackson is a Niuean journalist and former politician.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Niue may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Niue, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
Niue Airline was an airline in Niue, established in 1990. It serviced the Auckland-Niue route weekly, and later fortnightly, until its closure in 1992. The route was operated by a chartered Air Nauru 737 and carried mail. Flights were sometimes cancelled if passenger numbers or freight was not enough to fund the flight. The airline was majority New Zealand-owned.
India–Niue relations refers to bilateral relations between India and Niue.
Mele Fakatali Nemaia is a community organiser and educator of Niuean descent.
Lino Nelisi is a Niuen-born New Zealand author and educator.