History of Niue

History of Niue

Niue was first settled by Polynesian sailors from Samoa in around 900 AD [Encyclopedia Britannica, "Niue"] . Further settlers (or invaders) arrived from Tonga in the 16th century ["ibid"] .

Until the beginning of the eighteenth 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 "putu-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. [S. Percy Smith, [http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-SmiNiu.html "Niuē-fekai (or Savage) Island and its People"] , 1903, pp.36-44] ("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 Encyclopaedia Britannica" claimed this was due to native fear of foreign disease [1911 Encyclopedia, [http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Niue "Niue"] ] .In response, Cook named Niue the "Savage Island".

Christian missionaries from the London Missionary Society converted most of the population circa 1846. In 1887, King Fataaiki wrote to Queen Victoria of England, 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.

150 Niuean men, 4% of the island's population, served as soldiers in the New Zealand armed forces during World War One. [Pointer, Margaret. "Tagi tote e loto haaku - My heart is crying a little: Niue Island involvement in the great war, 1914-1918". Alofi: Government of Niue; Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, 2000, ISBN 9820201578] [ [http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/sundaystartimes/auckland/4555646a22402.html "Niuean war heroes marked"] , Susana Talagi, "Western Leader", May 22, 2008]

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.

In January of 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.

External links

* [http://www.seafriends.org.nz/niue/history.htm A Brief History of Niue]
* [http://www.historyofnations.net/oceania/niue.html History of Niue]

ee also

* HEKAU, Maihetoe & al., "Niue: A History of the Island", Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies (USP) & the government of Niue, 1982 [no ISBN]


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