Who are the People of Niue?
Who are the People of Niue?

Who are the People of Niue?

(c) C. Syme – Niue Tourism

A Quick Guide to the Niuean People

The 261.5km2 (162 mi sq) island of Niue is an island of a vast majority of an ethnic group called Niueans. Interestingly, there are more Niueans living outside of this island than on the island. Those who remain in Niue live across 12 villages and one small town. Learn more about the people of Niue in this quick guide.

Before we get into our guide to the people of Niue, be sure to bookmark The Guide to the Niuean Culture for Travellers for even more advice on the local customs and cultural experiences.

What Do You Call People From Niue?

A person from Niue and/or a citizen of Niue is called a “Niuean”. The language of Niue is also of the same name, which you can learn more about in What is the Niue Language?

Who are the People of Niue?(c) Niue Tourism

The Population of Niue

As of 2011, the population of Niue was 1,611 according to the 2011 National Census. The ethnic makeup of Niue is made up of the following ethnic groups:

  • Niuean – 67%
  • Part-Niuean – 13%
  • Other – 20%

In fact, there are more Niueans living outside of Niue than in Niue. According to Niue Statistics, 20,200 Niueans live in New Zealand. Niue is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand.

Who are the People of Niue?(c) Niue Tourism

Niue’s Main Ethnic Groups

Niue’s population is made up of one main ethnic group, Niueans and Part-Niueans. The small minority of other ethnic groups in Niue include European, Chinese, Indian, Japanese and South Pacific Islanders, who have immigrated to the island.

Who are the Niueans?

Niueans are of Polynesian ancestry, said to have settled from Samoa and Tonga. Their settlement on the island dates back to around 900 AD.

Learn more about the history of Niue in A Brief History of Niue.

Who are the People of Niue?(c) C. Syme - Niue Tourism

Where Does the Niuean Population Live?

Niue is a South Pacific nation of just one island with 12 villages and one town, where most of the population live in Alofi, the capital of the island.

According to the 2001 Census, around 600 people live in Alofi. The second-most populated village is Hakupu, then Avatele. The villages in order of population are as follows:

  • Alofi
  • Hakupu
  • Avatele
  • Tamakautoga
  • Mutalau
  • Tuapa
  • Lakepa
  • Makefu
  • Liku
  • Hikutavake
  • Vaiea
  • Toi
  • Namukulu

Learn more about some of the largest villages in The 5 Biggest Towns & Villages in Niue

As mentioned, most of the Niuean population live outside of Niue than in Niue. While 1,611 Niueans live in Niue, around 20,200 live in New Zealand.

Who are the People of Niue?(c) C. Syme - Niue Tourism

The Niuean Lifestyle

The Niuean culture or “Taoga Niue” means everything to a Niuean, where, to oversimplify, their cultural values revolve around ancestral knowledge and respect, as well as Christian religious values – see The Guide to the Religions in Niue for more information.

They have a number of traditional customs passed down through generations that are still performed today, such as ear piercing and haircutting ceremonies for young girls and boys. Arts and crafts, such as weaving practical items, hunting uga (coconut crab), annual village show days, a nationwide event call Takai, as well as their native language of Niuean, are other cultural traditions still observed today.

Food is an important aspect of daily life, where much of the country relies on its own agriculture and fishing, as well as imported foodstuffs.

Unlike other South Pacific Islands, Niue’s social stratification is not characterised by hereditary rulers. They have a flexible hierarchy where individual achievements are observed. Some tasks are typically divided by gender, for example, men may do deep-sea fishing, while women will do more domestic chores, such as caring for family members, cooking and weaving.

Learn more about the culture of Niue in The Guide to the Niuean Culture for Travellers.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Niue Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. He is also consulting regularly with Niue Tourism to ensure content accuracy. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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