Friday, October 14, 2005

History of Niue

History of Niue. Have you ever heard of Niue? I sure had not. It is a small Oceania island which is a territory of New Zealand. And like all places on Earth, it has a history.

Wikipedia notes, "Niue is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is commonly known as "Rock of Polynesia". Although it is self-governing, it is in free association with New Zealand. This means that the sovereign in right of New Zealand is also the head of state of Niue, and most diplomatic relations are conducted by New Zealand on Niue's behalf. Niue is located 2,400 kilometres north-east of New Zealand in a triangle between Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands."

From the site:

European involvement in Niue began in 1774 with Captain James Cook's sighting (landing was refused) of what he named "Savage Island".

The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica wrote, "The. natives are keen traders, and though uncouth in manners when compared with their nearest neighbours, the Tongans and Samoans, are friendly to Europeans. Their hostility to Captain Cook in 1774, which earned from him the name of Savage for the island, was due to their fear of foreign disease, a fear that has since been justified. The population (4079 in 1901) is slightly decreasing. The natives are all Christians, and the majority have learned to read and write, and to speak a little English, under the tuition of the London Missionary Society. They wear European clothes. The island became a British protectorate on the 20th of April 1900, and was made a dependency of New Zealand in October 1900, the native government, of an elected " king " and a council of headmen, being maintained. In 1900 there were thirteen Europeans on the island. The exports are copra, fungus and straw hats, which the women plait very cleverly."

Briefly a protectorate, the UK's involvement was passed on in 1901 when New Zealand annexed the island. Independence in the form of self-government was granted by the New Zealand parliament in the 1974 constitution. Niue is fully responsible for internal affairs. New Zealand retains responsibility for external affairs and defense; however, these responsibilities confer no rights of control and are only exercised at the request of the Government of Niue.

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