Falaalofa lahi atu!
The theme for Niue Language Week is ‘fakamau, fakamanatu mo e fakaaoga tumau e vagahau Niue‘ which means ‘maintain, retain and develop the Niue language’.
The Pacific Island of Niue is very small and has a population of 1’400 people. It’s known as The Rock of the pacific, and is located about 2’400kms northeast of New Zealand. Niueans are automatically New Zealand citizens and have the same queen as New Zealand – Queen Elizabeth II.
90-96 % of Niueans live in New Zealand (22,473 people in 2006) and is our 4th largest Pacific Island population group. This also means that 70% of those that can speak Niuean live in New Zealand.
This week is Niuean Language week . Because the population is small and most of the Niueans live in New Zealand (where English is mostly spoken), it’s really important that the language is learnt and used by Niueans so that it survives.
Here’s a useful language guide for everyday words. You can also visit the official Niuean language website too, and the Wikipedia page is good for language experts. Why not give some words and sentences a go?
Here’s some cool facts about Niue:
- It’s the largest coral island in the world
- It was settled by Polynesians from Samoa in 900AD. The first European to see Niue was Captain James Cook in 1774AD
- Captain Cook called the island Savage Island because he thought the islanders had blood smeared all over them. ‘Niue’ means ‘behold the coconut’.
- Niue has free wireless internet for everyone who lives there. The first country to do so.
- Every primary and secondary student has a lap top provided for them to do their school work on.
- There is only 1 TV channel, 1 newspaper and 1 radio station.
- Air New Zealand is the only airline that flies to Niue.
- February is the hottest month, and March is the wettest (most rain falls over summer). Temperatures as high as 38 degrees have been recorded in Niue! That’s hot!
- Niue is home to the Coconut Crab, that largest living crab in the word! It can grow up to 91cms wide. Scary!
- Niue is on the other side of the International Date Line, which means that is is 23 hours behind New Zealand. Which means that at the moment it is yesterday in Niue.