Niue is an isolated, uplifted, cyclone-prone coral atoll in western Polynesia.
In 1974 Niue became a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand. The economy is highly dependent on New Zealand aid and little is exported.
In 2004, the economy was severely damaged when the capital Alofi was hit by Cyclone Heta, causing damage to 80 per cent of buildings. The process of re-building was assisted by the creation of a Niue Trust Fund in 2005 (modelled on a similar trust in Tuvalu), where aid donors like Australia and New Zealand will invest capital to allow the small island population to use the interest on investments for government spending.
Main languages: Niuean, English
Main religions: Christianity (mainly the Protestant Ekalesia Niue)
Niue has a declining Polynesian population, from more than 5,000 in 1966 to less than 2,000 in the 2000s, due to extensive emigration to New Zealand, where there is a population of more than 15,000 of Niuean descent (20,100, 2001 New Zealand census). There are some Europeans and some other Polynesians, mainly from Tuvalu, Tonga and Samoa in Niue.
No minority rights issues have been identified. A Tuvaluan population have resettled there, mainly in a single village, but many of them too have moved on to New Zealand.