Cultural Activities in Niue
Niue is a unique country, unique in that it’s the largest uplifted coral atoll in the world and unique in that it’s home to the Niuean culture. This fascinating Polynesian culture comes with its own customs, traditions and daily activities. When visiting Niue, you too can enjoy a slice of Niuean life just by taking part in a few of the amazing cultural activities. So if you want to immerse in the local culture, see the ways to experience the Niue culture listed below.
Before we get into the ways to experience the Niue culture, be sure to bookmark The Guide to the Niuean Culture for Travellers for even more advice.
1. Do a Niuean Plantation Tour
Everyone’s got to eat, so food is a cultural aspect in Niue that we can all get involved in! There are several plantation tours available in Niue, including the Niue Vanilla tour of a plantation with more than 7,000 organic vanilla vines. There’s also A5 Tours, a 4WD tour taking you through the Niuean forest and plantations to learn how to husk a coconut, hold an uga (coconut crab) and taste a range of seasonal fruit. See more ways you can have a Niuean foodie experience in the 10 Things to Do in Niue for Foodies.
2. Hunt for Uga
The uga is revered in Niue, eaten as a delicacy. Take part in traditional uga hunting on one of the uga hunting tours, such as with the Matapa Guest House or Taue Uga Tours. The latter has day and night options, one to set up coconut baits around the forest and the other to collect the uga when they are feasting at night. There are more ways to learn about the famous uga, so take a look at the 8 Ways See Uga (Coconut Crabs) in Niue.
3. Take Part in a Culture Tour
From village tours to nature tours, there are many more guided options to get you experiencing different aspects of the Niuean culture. Join Misa’s Nature Tour to see how Niuean ancestors survived living in the forest. Check out the Ebony Rainforest Tours to see where rare ebony wood is collected to create cultural carvings. Find out more in the 7 Best Culture Tours in Niue.
4. Mingle with the Locals at the Niue Market
The Niue Market is a hive of activity on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings where locals sell handicrafts, food and more. Head down early on Mondays and Fridays (or go a little later in the morning on Wednesdays) and mingle with the friendly locals – perhaps even get yourself an authentic Niuean souvenir. The Niue Market is located in Alofi next to the Visitor Information Centre.
5. Watching the Weaving Group at Makini Hall
Wednesday is weaving day at Makini Hall in Alofi. It’s where the Niue Council of Women get together to do all sorts of handicrafts, from weaving plates, fans and hats to printing paleu (sarongs). Visitors are free to watch the weaving and chat with the ladies, where they may even let you try crafting for yourself. Otherwise, there is a weaving lesson at the Scenic Matavai Resort, typically on Monday mornings.
6. Try Niuean Cuisine at a Niuean Umu Buffet
Admittedly, you won’t find Niuean dishes on the a la carte menu of Niue’s restaurants. You’ll have to wait until a Niuean umu night to try some authentic Niuean cuisine. The Scenic Matavai Resort and the Hio Cafe & Bar both put on Niuean buffets every Thursday, while the same happens at Jenna’s Restaurant on Tuesday nights during the high season. The experience also involves some form of entertainment, whether it’s local live musicians or Polynesian dancing. Learn more in The Ultimate Guide to the Niue Nightlife.
7. Go to a Niuean Church Service
Most Niueans are devout Christians, where each village has a church at the centre of the community. Visitors are welcome to experience a Sunday church service for themselves, where a highlight is the beautiful harmonious acapella singing from the locals. Remember to wear appropriate attire for church – something to cover the knees and shoulders. See the 5 Best Churches in Niue to Experience as a Visitor to know where to visit.
8. Experience a Village Show Day
Once a year, each village in Niue puts on a show day to showcase the best that the village has to offer. This could be the best produce, catch, uga, handicrafts, food and more. Events usually involve some competitions, including games both contemporary and traditional. If you want to experience the Niuean community, then coincide your visit with one of the Village Show Days. See What are the Village Show Days in Niue? for more information.
9. Check out the Taoga Niue Museum
The Fale Tau Taoga or Niue National Museum is Niue’s one and only museum holding the island’s treasures of the past. Browse a range of artefacts, such as family heirlooms from World War One, as well as culturally significant woven items. While many relics were lost during the 2004 Cyclone Heta, the museum showcases what was salvaged. Find the museum down Halamagaga Road in Alofi, open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 3pm.
10. Learn to Paddle a Vaka
Finally, enjoy a hands-on cultural experience learning to paddle a vaka (outrigger canoe) with Taue Vaka Tours. These traditional Niuean canoes are still used by fishermen to this day, seen along many of the sea tracks. Already, they are pretty tempting to take out on the water (which you absolutely shouldn’t do), but Taue Vaka Tours gives you the chance to learn how to paddle one in a sheltered lagoon. See the 5 Best SUP, Vaka & Kayak Tours in Niue for more information.