- Location: South Pacific
- Capital: Alofi
- Language(s): English, Niuean
- Population: 1,507
- Total Area: 260 sq km
- Currencies: NiueDollar, New Zealand Dollar
- Curious Alcohol Fact: You do not have to import alcoholic drinks, as they are plentiful on the tiny island.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 9.85 liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Coconut milk, beers (Lion Red, Steinlager)
Niue is best described as an internally self-governing island nation that is in a free association with another country (which is New Zealand in this case). The island is in the same geographical location with the Cook Islands and is located in the western portion of the archipelago. Niue is also not too far from the Samoan Archipelago and Tonga. The island itself is somewhat egg-shaped and has its relief made up of two separate levels. The country has two main seasons –the rainy and the dry. In the 18th century, the island was visited by Captain James Cook who named it the SavageIsland. With time, missionaries settled on the island and Christianity was eventually introduced to the local people who had initially resisted the European colonists. For a while, the island was a British Protectorate until its annexation by New Zealand in the early 1900s. In 1974, the island assumed a self-governing status. I later learnt that the Niueans fondly call their island ‘The Rock of Polynesia’.
When it comes to friendliness and hospitality, I will rate the Niueans the very best. I have been to all the islands in the Pacific and Oceania region but I have not seen people who are as warm, friendly and nice as the Niueans. They will always wave to you and those smiles? Very enchanting! In one of the villages, I was received by a patu-iki (chief) in a festival-like atmosphere. Although an overwhelming proportion of the Niueans are Polynesians, they can be classified into groups. These include the Motu’u who reside in the northern part of the island and the Tafeeti who live in the southern region of the island. In addition to these, we have Europeans, Tongans, Samoans and natives from other islands in the Pacific region. Niuean is the most widely spoken language in the country while English is also popular, especially in administrative settings. I also observed that religion is a very important part of the Niuean society and many of the islanders are Christians and very few still cling to the old beliefs.
Of all the activities in Niue, the one I enjoyed most is eating. When it comes to consuming the finest meals in the Pacific, I have only one destination and that is the Rock of Polynesia. One dish that you must try is called pitako kapi’a and is a kind of bread made using manioc, and is a favorite of the natives. There is also the poke loku and this is very delicious. The poke loku is a perfect blend of papaya (Niuean papayas are incredibly sweet), manioc flour and coconut flavor. Sincerely speaking, nothing tastes better than the poke loku. To get a real feeling of Niuean food, there is an annual food festival that you can attend! Boiled coconut crabs (called uga) is a very popular local delicacy and if you are lucky enough to have a bite, you may have to consider selling your flight ticket!
Getting a mug of fresh coconut milk is as easy as anything. Many tourists also refresh themselves with local beers like Steinlager and Lion Red.
Interesting Things About Niue
- The island nation is also simply referred to as ‘The Rock’.
- The island nation is actually a large atoll.
- Crops known as kumaras are grown on the island.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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