Niue (nēōˈā) [key], coral island (2004 pop. 1,761), c.100 sq mi (260 sq km), South Pacific, freely associated with New Zealand. Alofi is the capital. The inhabitants are mainly Protestant Polynesians. Niue, once known as Savage Island, has fertile soil and exports coconut cream, copra, honey, vanilla, and fruit. Fishing, tourism, and the sale of postage stamps to foreign collectors are also important to the economy. The island, which is heavily dependent on aid from New Zealand, has an autonomous internal government, established under the Consitution Act of 1974. There is a premier and a 20-seat Legislative Assembly, whose members are popularly elected for three-year terms. Declining population threatens Niue's economic health and the survival of its language; Polynesians of Niuean descent in New Zealand outnumber Niueans ten to one. A cyclone devastated the island in Jan., 2004. In 2006, Australia, New Zealand, and Niue established a trust fund to provide long-term revenues for the island's economic development.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on Niue from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Pacific Islands Political Geography