This is Niue, a beautiful and tiny island in the Pacific Ocean.
The best thing about it is its currency
Niue, a sovereign state in free association with New Zealand, uses two official legal tender currencies. While they use the New Zealand dollar, the government also issues legal tender coins using the Niue dollar for collector’s purposes.
Before the creation of the New Zealand dollar, Niue was a user of the pound sterling and the very early commemorative coins of Niue were in pound or shilling increments.
Niue first began issuing coins in 1966. These have been mostly bullion and non-circulating base metal commemorative issues. They are acceptable as legal tender within Niue, though unlikely to be found anywhere on the island.
Niue is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand within the triangle formed by Tonga to the west, Samoa to the north, and the Cook Islands to the east. Its land area is 260 square kilometres (100 sq mi) and its population, predominantly Polynesian, is around 1,190. They commonly refer to the island as “The Rock”, a reference to the traditional name “Rock of Polynesia”.
Niue, whose capital is the village of Alofi, is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand, and New Zealand conducts most of its diplomatic relations on its behalf. Niueans are New Zealand citizens, and Queen Elizabeth II is head of state in her capacity as Queen of New Zealand. 90 to 95 percent of Niuean people live in New Zealand, along with about 70% of the speakers of the Niuean language.
Niue is not a member of the United Nations, but UN organisations have accepted its status as a freely-associated state as equivalent to independence for the purposes of international law. As such, Niue is a full member of some UN specialized agencies (such as UNESCO, the WTO, and the WHO), and is invited, alongside the other non-UN member state, the Cook Islands, to attend United Nations conferences open to “all states”.
In 2003 Niue became the world’s first “Wi-Fi nation”, with the Internet Users Society-Niue providing free wireless Internet access throughout the country.
Niue was settled by Polynesians from Samoa around 900 AD. Further settlers arrived from Tonga in the 16th century.
Until the beginning of the 18th century, there appears to have been no national government or national leader; chiefs and heads of families exercised authority over segments of the population. Around 1700, the concept and practice of kingship appear to have been introduced through contact with Samoa or Tonga. A succession of patu-iki (kings) ruled, the first of whom was Puni-mata. Tui-toga, who reigned from 1875 to 1887, was the first Christian king.
The first European to sight Niue was Captain James Cook in 1774. He made three attempts to land but was refused permission to do so by the inhabitants. He named the island “Savage Island” because, as legend has it, the natives who “greeted” him were painted in what appeared to be blood. The substance on their teeth was hulahula, a native red banana.
For the next couple of centuries, Niue was known as Savage Island until its original name, Niuē, which translates as “behold the coconut”, regained use.
The next notable European visitors were from the London Missionary Society, which arrived in 1846 on the “Messenger of Peace”. After many years of trying to land a European missionary, a Niuean named Nukai Peniamina was taken to Samoa and trained as a Pastor at the Malua Theological College. Peniamina returned as a missionary with the help of Toimata Fakafitifonua. He was finally allowed to land in Uluvehi Mutalau after a number of attempts in other villages had failed. The chiefs of Mutalau village allowed him to land and assigned over 60 warriors to protect him day and night at the fort in Fupiu.
Christianity was first taught to the Mutalau people before it was spread to all the villages; originally other major villages opposed the introduction of Christianity and had sought to kill Peniamina. The people from the village of Hakupu, although the last village to receive Christianity, came and asked for a “word of god”; hence, their village was renamed “Ha Kupu Atua” meaning “any word of god”, or “Hakupu” for short.
In 1889, the chiefs and rulers of Niue, in a letter to Queen Victoria, asked her “to stretch out towards us your mighty hand, that Niue may hide herself in it and be safe.” After expressing anxiety lest some other nation should take possession of the island, the letter continued: “We leave it with you to do as seems best to you. If you send the flag of Britain that is well; or if you send a Commissioner to reside among us, that will be well”. The offer was not initially taken up by the British. In 1900 a petition by the Cook Islanders asking for annexation included Niue “if possible”. In a document dated 19 October 1901, the “King” and Chiefs of Niue consented to “Queen Victoria taking possession of this island.” A despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies from the Governor of New Zealand referred to the views expressed by the Chiefs in favour of “annexation” and to this document as “the deed of cession.” A British Protectorate was declared, but it was short-lived. Niue was brought within the boundaries of New Zealand on 11 June 1901 by the same Order and Proclamation as the Cook Islands. The Order limited the islands to which it related by reference to an area in the Pacific described by co-ordinates, and Niue, the situation of which is 19.02 S., 169.55 W, is within that area.
Self-government was granted by the New Zealand parliament with the 1974 constitution, following a referendum in 1974 whereby Niueans were given three options: independence, self-government or continuation as a New Zealand territory. The majority selected self-government and Niue’s written constitution was promulgated as supreme law. Robert Rex, ethnically part European, part native, was appointed the first premier, a position he held until his death 18 years later. Rex was the first Niuean to receive a knighthood, in 1984.
In January 2004, Niue was hit by Cyclone Heta which killed two people and caused extensive damage to the entire island, including wiping out most of the south of the capital, Alofi.