Waitākere College

Niuean Language Week

Niue has a humble population of around 1,600 residents, while a whopping 22,200 Niueans live in New Zealand. Niueans have New Zealand citizenship making living and traveling overseas a breeze. This statistic also means that there are more people speaking Niue’s native language, Vagahau Niue or Niuean, overseas than in Niue, all the more reason to keep the language alive.

It is estimated that only 7,000 people speak Niuean, therefore the Niuean language is classified as a “definitely endangered language” by UNESCO. You can find Niuean speakers in Niue, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, and Tonga.

Learn some Niuean words and phrases from the language card and try them out on your friends and family.

Interesting facts about Niue:

Niue used to have a Pokemon currency

Although Niue is a country in free association with New Zealand and therefore shares the currency of the New Zealand Dollar, Niue has issued some of its own commemorative coins accepted as legal tender within Niue. In 2001, the Niue Government issued five Pokemon coins depicting Pokemon characters  It featured the Niue Coat of Arms on one side while the reverse had Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle or Meowth on it.  Niue also has commemorative coins with designs from Disney, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and more. All are considered legal tender, meaning they’re real and spendable although many are worth more as collector's items!

Niue is the World’s largest raised coral atoll

With a 260km2 (100sq mi) landmass and sitting on top of 30m (100ft) cliffs, Niue is the world’s largest uplifted coral atoll. It was formed by volcanic upheavals some 2-3 million years ago leaving a large island of limestone rock. That’s what makes Niue unique from the other South Pacific Islands and why it has the nickname “The Rock of the Pacific”. 

Niue is one of the last countries in the World to see the sunset each day

Due to Niue’s position on the International Date Line, Niue is one of the last countries in the world to see the end of the day. In fact, because New Zealand and Niue are on opposite sides of the International Date Line, the Tuesday morning flight from Auckland arrives in Niue on Monday afternoon despite being a three-hour flight!

Fakaaue lahi.