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Niue ( New Zealand)


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Niue

Niue is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It is commonly known as the "Rock of Polynesia", and inhabitants of the island call it "the Rock" for short. Niue is 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand in a triangle between Tonga to the southwest, the Samoas to the northwest, and the Cook Islands to the southeast. The land area is 260 square kilometres (100 sq mi) with about 1,400 people who are predominantly Polynesian.
Though self-governing, Niue is in free association with New Zealand, and lacks full sovereignty. All Niueans are New Zealand citizens and Queen Elizabeth II is Niue's head of state in her capacity as Queen of New Zealand. Most diplomatic relations are conducted by New Zealand on Niue's behalf. 90-95% of Niuean people live in New Zealand, along with about 70% of the speakers of the Niuean language.
In 2003, Niue became the world's first "WiFi nation", in which free wireless Internet access is provided throughout the country by The Internet Users Society-Niue.



History of Niue

Niue was settled by Polynesians from Samoa around 900 AD. Further settlers (or invaders) arrived from Tonga in the 16th century.
Until the beginning of the 18th century, there appears to have been no national government or national leader. Before then, chiefs and heads of families exercised authority over segments of the population. Around 1700 the concept and practice of kingship appear to have been introduced through contact with Samoa or Tonga. From then 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.
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 hulahula, a native red banana.
For the next couple of centuries the island was known as Savage Island, until its original name Niu ē, which translates as "behold the coconut", regained use.
The next notable European visitors were from the London Missionary Society who 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 to Samoa and trained as a Pastor at the Malua Theological College. 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 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 direct 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, following a referendum in Niue in 1974 whereby Niueans were given 3 options: independence, self-government or continuing as a New Zealand territory. The majority selected self-government and Niue's written constitution was promulgated as supreme law. Robert Rex, ethnically part European, part native, was appointed the country's first premier, a position he held until his death 18 years later. Rex became the first Niuean to receive a knighthood, in 1984.
In January 2004, Niue was hit by Cyclone Heta, which killed two people and caused extensive damage to the entire island, including wiping out most of the south of the capital, Alofi.


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Politics of Niue

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 Constitution specifies that in everyday practice sovereignty is exercised by the Niue Cabinet of Ministers, comprising the premier and three other ministers. The premier and ministers are members of the Niue Legislative Assembly, the nation's parliament.
The assembly consists of 20 democratically elected members, 14 of whom are elected by the electors of each village constituency, six by all registered voters in all constituencies. Electors must be New Zealand citizens, resident for at least three months, and candidates must be electors and resident for 12 months. Anyone born in Niue must register on the electoral roll.
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 premier; the candidate with the most votes from the 20 members is elected. The Premier 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. General elections take place every three years, most recently on 7 May 2011.
The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Niue has a High Court, a Court of Appeal, and enjoys appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in London.



Geography of Niue

Niue is a 269 km² raised coral atoll in the southern Pacific Ocean, east of Tonga. The geographic coordinates 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 metres deep
2. Antiope Reef, at 18°15′S, 168°24′W, 180 km southeast, is a circular plateau approximately 400 metres in diameter, with a least depth of 9.5 metres
3. Haran Reef (Harans Reef), at 21°33′S, 168°55′W, reported to break furiously, 294 km southeast
Besides these, Albert Meyer Reef, (20°53′S, 172°19′W, almost 5 km long and wide, least depth 3 metres, 326 km southwest) is not officially claimed by Niue, and the existence of Haymet Rocks, (26°S, 160°W, 1273 km ESE) is in doubt.


Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. The terrain 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 is the number of limestone caves found close to the coast.
The island is roughly oval in shape (with a diameter of about 18 kilometres), 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, TePā Point (Blowhole Point), is close to the settlement of Avatele in the southwest. Most of the population resides close to the west coast, around the capital, and in the northwest.
Some of the soils are geochemically very unusual. They are extremely highly weathered tropical soils, with high levels of iron and aluminium oxides (oxisol) and mercury, and they contain surprisingly high levels of natural radioactivity. There is almost no uranium, but the radionucleides Th-230 and Pa-231 head the decay chains. This is the same distribution of elements as found naturally on very deep seabeds, but the geochemical evidence suggests that the origin is extreme weathering of coral and brief sea submergence 120,000 years ago. Endothermal upwelling, by which mild natural volcanic heat draws deep seawater up through the porous coral, may also contribute.
No adverse health effects from the radioactivity or other trace elements have been demonstrated and calculations show that level of radioactivity would probably be much too low to be detected in the population. These unusual soils are very rich in phosphate, but it is not accessible to plants, being in the very insoluble form of iron phosphate, or crandallite. It is thought that rather similar radioactive soils may exist on Lifou and Mare near New Caledonia, and Rennell in the Solomon Islands, but no other locations are known.
The time difference between Niue and mainland New Zealand is 23 hours during the Southern Hemisphere winter and 24 hours when the mainland uses Daylight Saving Time.

 

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