Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum


Map for Niue
  • A view of the west coast of the island nation of Niue.
  • Tony Aholima wants to continue living on Niue staying connected to his traditions and growing food for sale.
  • A Niuean dance group performs a traditional Polynesian dance to welcome tourists.

Case studies

South Pacific sea level monitoring

A weather-monitoring station in Kiribati.
Sea level monitoring stations in the south-west Pacific are collecting data to assist nations to prepare for climate change.
Read more
Flag of Niue



GDP per capita (PPP US$):


Access to water:

Did you know?

There are about 1,500 Niueans living in Niue, far fewer than the 22,500 living in New Zealand.

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Physical geography

Niue is a coral island of only 260 square kilometres and is located about 480 kilometres east of Tonga and 2,400 kilometres north-east of New Zealand. It has steep limestone cliffs along the coast, which rise 20–30 metres out of the sea, and a central plateau. The highest point, at 68 metres, is near Mutalau in the north. A rugged fringing reef, which is over 100 metres wide in places, surrounds the island.


Niue experiences a tropical climate moderated by south-east trade winds. It is hot, wet and humid from December to March, with an average temperature of 28 °C. There are often torrential downpours. Although there is an average of 2,000 millimetres of rain each year, droughts are common.


Anono Marine Reserve and Huvalu Forest Conservation Area are protected areas. There are few indigenous birds and animals.


Niueans live in the 14 coastal villages. The population peaked in 1966 with 5,200 residents. Since then the population has been slowly declining due to migration. The capital city of Niue is Alofi.


Culture and identity

The population consists of 78% Niuean people and 10% other Pacific Islanders, with the rest being of European, Asian or mixed origin. Niuean, a Polynesian language closely related to Tongan and Samoan, and English are both spoken.

Villages are laid out around a central male or village square, which is used for meetings, sports events, and ceremonies. The church and the pastor’s house are usually central.


Life expectancy for Niuean men is 66 years and for women is 80 years. Infant mortality is 17 per 1,000 live births. Everyone on Niue has access to safe water and sanitation.

Religion and beliefs

Roughly 80% of the population are Christian, predominantly Ekalesia Niue, or they belong to the Niuean Church, a Protestant church closely related to the London Missionary Society.

Food and shelter

Food staples are coconut, yams, taro, sweet potato, breadfruit, cassava, crab and shellfish. Pigs and chicken are cooked alongside root vegetables in an umu, large earth oven. Fruits include bananas, coconuts, limes, passionfruit, papayas and watermelons. A favourite dish is sliced taro, layered with papaya and baked in coconut cream.

Traditionally houses were lime-plastered local wood with a thatch roof but now tend to be made of concrete with a tin roof.


Wealth and poverty

Niue’s economy suffers from the typical Pacific Island problems of geographic isolation, few resources, and a small population. Fishing licences and the international lease of Niue’s unique four-digit telephone numbers are important income earners for the country. Many are dependent on remittances sent from family living abroad and New Zealand provides substantial economic and administrative assistance.

Education and work

Education is free and compulsory until the age of 14 and literacy is nearly 100%. The government employs 400 people but most Niueans also work on family farms.

Industries and products

The agricultural sector consists mainly of subsistence farming, although some cash crops are grown for export. Other agricultural products are coconuts, passionfruit, honey, limes, taro, yams, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes, pigs, poultry and beef cattle.

There are some small factories processing passionfruit, lime oil, honey and coconut cream. Other industries include tourism and handicrafts.


Export commodities are canned coconut cream, copra, honey, vanilla, passionfruit products, pawpaw, root crops, limes, footballs, stamps and handicrafts.

Import commodities are food, live animals, manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, lubricants, chemicals and medicines. New Zealand is the main trading partner with other partners including Japan, China and Australia.


Niue is self-governing in free association with New Zealand. All Niueans also hold New Zealand citizenship. Niue’s parliament (the Niue Assembly) consists of 20 members representing the 14 villages and 6 common roll seats. The last election was held in May 2011.

Achievements and challenges

Niue faces formidable development constraints. These include isolation, size, poor soils and declining population. Severe cyclones occur about every ten years – most recently, Cyclone Heta in 2004 – and have a lasting impact.

Despite the challenges faced, Niue has already managed to achieve most of the Millennium Development Goals. 

Links with Australia

Australia and Niue enjoy a friendly relationship, based on shared membership of Pacific regional organisations, a small aid program and trade.

The Australian Aid program helps the government to better deliver services and deal with problems created by climate change through contributions to the Niue International Trust Fund, which aims to provide a long-term, dependable income for the Niuean Government to encourage self-reliance and decrease dependency on aid. Australia is also supporting the rebuilding of the island’s primary school and early childhood education centre.