Niue is an island country in the South Pacific, it consists of a coral island of around 260 km² and lies in a triangle formed by the island of Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. The small state has been associated with New Zealand since 1976.

Only about 1,400 people live on Niue. Around 2000 there were almost 1000 more. At the beginning of the last century it was said to have been several 10,000. Many were "conscripted" in World War I and II and died in Europe. The majority of the inhabitants emigrated to New Zealand for economic reasons.

Economy: The remaining residents now either work for the local government, in tourism (small shops, car rental, hotels) or live on government support, or expatriate relatives. However, the small hotels seem to be mostly run by immigrant "expats".

Captain Cook named the island "Savage Island" because it was here that he was forcibly evicted by the locals during a voyage through the Pacific. On all other islands in the Pacific, the reception had been friendlier.

Unlike most other South Pacific islands, Niue does not have a surrounding lagoon, but is a coral atoll raised above sea level, which is why it is also called "The Rock of Polynesia". As a result, there are no beaches on Niue worthy of the name, the only opportunities for swimming, bathing or snorkeling are in the so-called 'rock pools', which are distributed around the island.


Getting there

The tourist information center in the “town center” of Alofi is open Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Getting to Niue is only possible by plane or your own boat.

Entry conditions
Tourists of any nationality are permitted to stay for 30 days without a visa, provided they can prove that they have an onward flight and sufficient funds. (The latter will be checked on the flight to New Zealand.)

For all other types of stay, everyone except natives and New Zealanders requires a visa. For details contact the Immigration Office, PO Box 67, Alofi, Tel. +683 4219.

Duty free quantities
50 cigarettes or 50g of tobacco (price of a pack in Niue: at least NZ$35)
3 bottles of schnapps or 3 bottles of wine or combinations thereof max. 3.5 l or 8 liters of beer

By plane
Hanan Airport (IATA: IUE). Air New Zealand is currently the only airline to operate a weekly flight from Auckland. The flight time from Auckland (AKL) is 3 hours and 30 minutes. Niue lies immediately east of the Date Line. So you end up on a different day of the week.

By boat
Since there is no harbor on Niue, boats and ships have to anchor in one of the bays in front of Alofi and you have to take a dinghy across.

Private yachts must arrange their arrival with the Niue Yacht Club (, who will assign an anchorage. There is space for twenty boats no longer than 20 meters. Fees (2023): NZ$30/day; Check-in NZ$50 (9-10am and 2-3pm only on weekdays), plus departure tax NZ$150/person.

Since 2019, the Niue Nukutuluea Multiple-Use Marine Park has existed around the entire island with different protection zones that sailors must observe.



There is no public transport on Niue, so it is advisable to rent a car, scooter or motorbike. There are six car rental companies. This requires a New Zealand driver's license, which can be obtained upon presentation of the domestic and international driving license for a fee of NZ$22.50 at the police station, Mon.-Thurs. Can be purchased in Alofi from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The classes correspond to the European ones. For foreigners, the “rag” is only valid for one year.
Alcohol limit is 0.8. Since 2015, the police have been allowed to hand out traffic tickets.

The only real road is the 64km around the island. It makes up about half of the island's road network. Maximum speeds are 40 km/h in urban areas, otherwise 60 km/h - more than that is not possible anyway, given the many potholes. However, Chinese development aid will finance repairs from mid-2023. Particular caution is required when driving through towns, as you often encounter chickens, dogs or children playing on the road. The dogs also like to chase moped or bicycle riders - sometimes even into the next town.

The only fully serviced gas station is Central Services. It is open on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays in the early evening.



Niue is great for snorkeling, diving or swimming with dolphins. However, the main reason for a holiday on Niue is likely to be the humpback whales, which pass by the island every year between July and October on their way to their birthing/reproductive area. Since Niue is one of only three countries in the world that allows swimming/snorkeling with whales, this may be Niue's “drawcard.”

All water activities are carried out by the only diving center in Niue. Niue Blue (tel. +6834347) is at the Scenic Matavai Resort in Tamakautoga. On the dives you can see the corals and reef fish that are common in the South Pacific as well as large fish such as: B. Stingrays and reef sharks.
Boats for fishing are available in Alofi from Fish Niue Charters, tel. +6834664.

The Taoga Niue program aims to preserve the local language and traditions. To achieve this, an annual “Village Show Day” takes place in each of the 14 villages with dances and often feasts baked in earth ovens. Handicrafts are also for sale.



The minimum age to purchase tobacco is 21 and 18 to purchase alcohol.

Honey and vanilla are also offered as souvenirs. In order to be able to take them back to New Zealand you have to get a “zoosanitarian certificate” at the airport before departure.

Woven and knotted fabrics are traditional crafts that are encouraged. Every Wednesday, indigenous women meet at Makini Hall with related offerings.

The shopping options on Niue are rather limited; there is a larger supermarket and a small “business district” in Alofi. Almost only souvenirs are offered there. Alcoholic drinks are rationed and you must present your plane ticket and passport to purchase.

The Tuesday-Fri. The market, open from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., is next to the tourist information center.

Swanson Supermarket, Swanson Complex, Tapeu - Poritt Road, Alofi (towards the airport). Open: 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Vai Mamali Drinks Stop (liquor shop; Tapeu - Poritt Road, Alofi). Open: Mon.-Sat., 5.30 p.m. - 8.30 p.m., Sat. until 9.30 p.m.



The few restaurants, more like snack bars, are along the coastal road in Alofi.

Niue's cuisine is closely related to the cuisine of other South Sea islands, so there is a lot of fish, sweet potatoes, coconut and taro. A local specialty is Uga (pronounced: Unga), the palm thief - the largest land crab in the world. This is served in most restaurants and during cultural events in hotels. Since almost all food is imported, it can happen that bottlenecks arise and even fruits that we take for granted, such as bananas, are sometimes not available even in the hotel.



Drinking, and the locals like to do that.



Accommodation on Niue is available in virtually all price ranges, but the only hotel that actually deserves this name is the Matavai Resort. The upscale Matavai has the great advantage that it is right next to the diving center and is therefore only a short distance away from all water activities.

All other accommodations are guesthouses or motels. They all offer cooking facilities.



As of 2022, Niue is still the only part of New Zealand where male homosexual acts are punishable.

The two cells in the prison near the police station are rarely occupied.



Niue Foou Hospital, Halamahaga Rd, Fagalilika.


Practical hints

As on many Pacific islands, the efforts of Calvinist missionaries found fertile ground. The “savages” were turned into believing sheep who “sanctify the Sabbath,” i.e. Sunday is a day of rest. Apart from the beach, you should not be dressed lightly.

Post and telecommunications
There is no roaming. The uplink is via satellite.

Thanks to some WiFi installations of the Kaniu network, Niue was the first country in the world with “free internet” - every user was entitled to 60MB of free traffic at the time. Nowadays visitors are sold 15 day data packages for NZ$25 to use public hotspots. The available pages are censored.

Otherwise you can buy a SIM card and data from Telecom Niue. This can be done at the airport and in the post/telecom branch next to the tourist information center. Prices here start at NZ$32 for 3GB with a validity of 60 days.



Niue's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) covers an area of around 320,000 km². The boundaries of the EEZs of the Cook Islands in the east and American Samoa in the north are determined by treaties. A corresponding agreement with Tonga in the west is still being negotiated (as of September 2020).

Niue lies immediately east of the Date Line. Since this leads to difficulties, particularly in traffic and communication with New Zealand (flights arrive on a different day of the week, trading partners are still or already on the weekend), a shift in the date line is being discussed in Niue (as of September 2020).


Physical geography


Niue is the tip of an extinct volcano and, with an area of 261.46 km², is one of the largest uplifted atolls in the world. It rises between 4000 and 5000 meters above the sea floor. The island's inner plateau is mostly flat and reaches up to 68 m above sea level. Niue has a steep limestone reef on its edge that rises up to 30 meters. Of the total area, around 80% can be used for agriculture, the rest consists of mostly tropical forests. The coast is very rugged with many caves and gorges, for example the Talava Cave on the northwest coast or the Avaiki Cave in the limestone on the west coast. There are no beaches worth mentioning.



The average temperature in Niue is 26°C and there is an average rainfall of just over 2000mm. Since the rainwater quickly seeps into the porous coral limestone, no surface water forms. Cisterns were therefore built to supply water.

In stable high-pressure weather conditions, Niue lies on the border between tropical and subtropical areas with southeasterly winds. During low pressure areas the wind turns northwest to west. Tropical cyclones also come from this direction and hit the island in 1959, 1960, 1970, 1989, 1990 and most recently in 2004. The high wave crests caused by the hurricanes cause practically no damage on land because of the cliffs, but the coral banks are severely affected.

On January 6, 2004, Cyclone Heta severely devastated the Pacific island. Two people lost their lives and over 200 residents were left homeless. The storm surge caused by the cyclone caused severe devastation across the entire northwestern coastline between Liha Point in the northeast and Halagigie Point in the west.



The Niue flat-tailed sea snake (Laticauda schystorhyncha) only lives off and on the coast of Niue. Called “Katuali” by locals, it reaches a length of up to one meter, has a flat tail and spends part of its life on land. The snake is highly poisonous, but is said to be peaceful. The land hermit crab “palm thief” (Birgus latro, also known as “coconut robber”) also lives on Niue. Endemic to the island is Nacaduba niueensis, a species of butterfly from the blue family. Distinctive due to its characteristic brown coloring and intricate pattern on the underside of its wings, the butterfly is depicted on collectible coins and stamps. Humpback whales can also be found off the coast of Niue. Niue is one of the few places where you can legally swim with them for a few months of the year.



Niue was probably settled by Polynesians from Samoa since the 10th century, with further settlers coming from Tonga in the 16th century. However, Niue then had little contact with neighboring islands and developed independently, which is reflected in major differences in language and culture on other islands in the region.

In 1774, James Cook discovered Niue for Europe. He couldn't land there because of the hostile population and gave the island the name Savage Island. Missionaries from England converted most of the residents to Christianity around 1846.

On October 20, 1900, the island became part of the British Western Pacific Territories. On June 11, 1901, Niue was annexed by New Zealand as part of the Cook Islands, and was separated again in 1903.

In 1960, the first Niue Legislative Assembly was elected, and in 1966 the High Commissioner's powers were partially transferred to the Assembly and a Niuean head of government was installed. In 1974 the people voted for a new constitution and decided on self-government in association with New Zealand.

A tropical cyclone in 2004 caused devastation and severely affected the economy. In the years that followed, the island was able to be rebuilt with the help of foreign support, particularly from the New Zealand government and the European Investment Bank.



Niue has 1784 inhabitants (2017). Strong migration to New Zealand has reduced the population by more than half since 1966. This led to numerous devastations. Around 24,000 Niueans live in New Zealand today. The Niueans speak their own Polynesian language, Niuean, whose closest related language is Tongan. English is also spoken.

About two thirds of the population belong to the reformed Ekalesia Niue, and there are also Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Presbyterians, Methodists and Adventists.



Niue's status under international law is of a special nature. Niue is an autonomous territory in “free association with New Zealand”. This status was chosen by Niue in an act of self-determination that was endorsed by the United Nations and is continually monitored. The Cook Islands also have this status. Thus, New Zealand is Niue's suzerain.

Niue is a self-governing territory. The legislative and executive powers are not subject to restrictions by New Zealand. The legislature lies with the Niue Fono Ekepule and the head of government is the Prime Minister. The country's residents are citizens of New Zealand. At Niue's request, New Zealand continues to exercise certain of the country's foreign and security policy responsibilities.

Both Niue's remote location and cultural and linguistic differences from the rest of the Cook Islands' Polynesian population have led to its self-rule.

The strong migration, further intensified by the consequences of the storm disaster, led to speculation by New Zealand politicians in 2004 that the association status could be changed in New Zealand's favor in the future. The considerations, put forward primarily by New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff, were firmly rejected by New Zealand Prime Minister Young Vivian.

Niue is an associate member of the Commonwealth of Nations and has been a member of the Pacific Islands Forum since 1975. The island state has so far been denied membership in the United Nations due to its association and low global recognition. Although Niue has the same status as the Cook Islands, Germany has not yet recognized the Pacific state.

Economic policy: The government is trying to promote tourism and finance.

Environmental policy: In April 2020, the Niue Parliament decided to designate approximately 127,000 km², i.e. 40% of its EEZ, as the Niue Moana Mahu Marine Protected Area.