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

Who are the People of Niue? Ethnicity, Population & More

(c) C. Syme – Niue Tourism

A Quick Guide to the Niuean People

The 261.5 km² (162 mi²) 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 14 villages. Learn more about the people of Niue in this quick guide.

To learn about the cultural aspects of the local people, be sure to head over to The Guide to the Niuean Culture for Travellers.

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 commonly known by 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

According to the 2017 National Census, the population of Niue was 1,719. The ethnic makeup of Niue is made up of the following ethnic groups:

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

See the “Where Do Niueans Live?” section below to see how the population is dispersed across the country.

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.

What Ethnicity is Niuean?

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 the island in A Brief History of Niue.

Who are the People of Niue? Ethnicity, Population & More© NiuePocketGuide.com

Where Do the Niueans Live?

Niue is a South Pacific nation of just one island with 14 villages. Most of the population lives in Alofi, the country’s capital.

Niue’s Population Per Village

According to the 2017 Census, around 430 people live in Alofi South and 170 live in Alofi North. The second-most populated village is Hakupu, then Tamakautoga. The villages in order of population are as follows:

  • Alofi South – 24%
  • Hakupu – 12%
  • Alofi North – 10%
  • Tamakautoga – 9%
  • Avatele – 8%
  • Vaiea – 6%
  • Tuapa – 6%
  • Mutalau – 6%
  • Liku – 5%
  • Lakepa – 5%
  • Makefu – 4%
  • Hikutavake – 3%
  • Toi – 1%
  • Namukulu – 1%

Learn more about some of the largest villages in The 5 Biggest Villages in Niue and the smallest in The Best Small Villages to Visit in Niue.

Niuean Population Overseas

There are more Niueans living outside of Niue than in Niue. According to Stats NZ, approximately 30,870 Niueans live in New Zealand.

Niue is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand, which you can learn more about in our guide, Who Owns Niue? The Political Status of Niue.

Who are the People of Niue? Ethnicity, Population & More© NiuePocketGuide.com

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 about the latter.

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

Who are the People of Niue? Ethnicity, Population & More© Niue Tourism

Frequently Asked Questions About the People of Niue

What are the questions most people have about the people of Niue? See if your own question is answered here!

Do More Niueans Live in New Zealand than in Niue?

Yes, significantly more Niueans live in New Zealand than Niue, due to the close ties Niue has with New Zealand and Niueans being granted a New Zealand passport.

What Race are Niueans?

Niueans are a Polynesian race (ethnicity).

What are Niueans Known for?

Niueans are known for their Polynesian culture of unique nuances, from hair-cutting ceremonies to crafting exquisite hats, bags and necklaces. Learn more about what Niueans are known for in The Guide to the Niuean Culture for Travellers.

Where Did Niueans Originate from?

Niueans originate from Polynesian settlers from Samoa and Tonga.

Is Niue Polynesian or Micronesian?

Niue is a Polynesian country located in Oceania; not Micronesian.

More About the People of Niue

That’s it for our guide to the people of Niue. For more about the Niuean people, check out the following guides:

Finally, make the most of experiencing the culture when visiting by following the advice in How to Have an Authentic Niuean Experience.


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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