Niue Commonwealth Walkway

Niue / The Pacific

NIUE  Niue island is a large upraised coral atoll, that stands alone in the centre of a triangle of nations made up of Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. It is known for its limestone cliffs and coral-reef diving sites.  There are no rivers or lakes which ensures that there is crystal clear water all year round.  Niue is one of the smallest countries while being one of the largest raised coral atolls on earth.  Furthermore, it’s Huvalu Rainforest is home to some amazing indigenous trees and has been designated as a Conservation Area to protect and conserve the islands primary rainforest and natural fauna and flora.  The whole island is dotted with a myriad of caves, sheltered rocky coves and secret beaches, some of which have yet to be explored.  Niue’s first settlers arrived from Tonga and Samoa around 1,000 years ago.  Europeans then came to the island in 1774 when James Cook was on his second Pacific voyage.  Cook referred to Niue as ‘Savage Island’.  This was due to the islander's unfriendly reception to Cook’s challenge.  For many years following, Niue was left unvisited.  In 1900 Niue became a British Colony and in 1901 it was handed over to New Zealand. Niue finally gained independence in 1974 but is still reliant on New Zealand.  Its population is mainly Polynesian.  English is widely spoken but a large number also speak both Niuean and English.  The islanders live in villages on the fertile coastal strip, which is intensively cultivated. That being said, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, many Niueans migrated to New Zealand due to Niue’s poor economic promises.  In the 21st century, there were many times more native-born Niueans and their descendants living in New Zealand than on Niue itself.  Capital Alofi is the capital and largest settlement of Niue.  Its area is around 100 square miles.  With a population of 597 in 2017, Alofi is the second smallest national capital city in terms of population. It consists of two villages: Alofi North and Alofi South, where the government headquarters are located. Fun Facts
  • Migrating whales swim in Niue’s waters between July and October.
  • Niuean is an endangered language. Only 7,000 people speak it.
  • The Island’s prison is on the golf course. It is wedged between the golf course and the bowls club.
  • There used to be an elephant on the island.  An Asian elephant called Anjalee was flown into Niue to be quarantined on the island before making her way to the Auckland Zoo in New Zealand.
  • Finally, Niue is one of the last countries in the world to see the sunset each day.
 

7.2 miles / 11.6 kilometres

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