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Niue - Catholic Church - Mission

Niue - South Pacific Ocean

Niue History and Facts in Brief

Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Niue is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean.
It is commonly known as the "Rock of Polynesia", and natives of the island call it "the Rock".

Though self governing, Niue is in free association with New Zealand, and thus lacks full sovereignty.
Queen Elizabeth II is Niue's head of state.
Most diplomatic relations are conducted by New Zealand on Niue's behalf.

Niue is 2,400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand in a triangle between Tonga, Samoa, and the Cook Islands.
The people are predominantly Polynesian.

Niuē Fekai


Coat of arms

Anthem: Ko e Iki he Lagi
Capital: Alofi
Official languages: Niuean, English
Demonym: Niuean
Government: Constitutional monarchy
- Head of State Queen Elizabeth II
Associated state:
- Constitution Act 19 October 1974
- Total 260 km² 100 sq mi
- Water (%) 0
- July 2009 estimate 1,398
- Density 5.35/km² 13.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP): estimate
- Total $7.6 million
Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Time zone: (UTC-11)
Drives on the: left
Internet TLD: .nu
Calling code: 683

Niue was settled by Polynesians from Samoa around CE 900.
Further settlers (or invaders) 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.
Before then, 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.
From then a succession of patu-iki (kings) ruled the island, 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.
Cook made three attempts to land on the island but was refused permission to do so by the Polynesian inhabitants.
He named the island "Savage Island" because, legend has it, the natives that "greeted" him were painted in what appeared to Cook and his crew to be blood.
However, the substance on their teeth was that of the hulahula, a native red banana.

For the next couple of centuries the island was known as Savage Island, until its original name Niu ē, which translates as "behold the coconut", regained use.
Its official name is still Niuē fekai (wild Niuē).

The next notable European visitors were from the London Missionary Society who arrived in 1846 on the "Messenger of Peace".
After many years of trying to land a European missionary on Niue, a Niuean named Nukai Peniamina was taken away and trained as a Pastor at the Malua Theological College in Samoa.
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 Peniamina 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 on Niue; 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 1887, King Fata-a-iki, who reigned from 1887 to 1896, offered to cede sovereignty to the British Empire, fearing the consequences of annexation by a less benevolent colonial power.
The offer was not accepted until 1900.

Niue was a British protectorate for a time, but the UK's direct involvement ended in 1901 when New Zealand annexed the island.
Independence in the form of self-government was granted by the New Zealand parliament with the 1974 constitution.
Robert Rex, ethnically part European, part native, was appointed the country's first Premier, a position he held until his death 18 years later.
Rex became 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.

For more information about Niue see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niue) see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, July 2009.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
About Wikipedia

This information was correct in July 2009. E. & O.E.

Niue - Catholic Church - Mission

The whole of Oceania had at first been entrusted by the Propaganda Fide to the Society of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (1825); but the territory proving too large, the western portion was afterwards formed into a vicariate Apostolic and given to the Society of Mary (1836), Mgr Pompallier being appointed vicar Apostolic of Western Oceania.

In 1842, the Propaganda created the vicariate Apostolic of Central Oceania, comprising New Caledonia, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji Islands.
By a further subdivision, the vicariate included only the Tonga, the Wallis Islands, Futuna and Niuē.
The Tonga Islands extend from 15° to 22° S. latitude and from 173° to 176° W. longitude.
Niuē. is three hundred miles to the east.
The Wallis Islands lie in 13° S. latitude and 178° W. longitude; Futuna, in 40° 14' S. latitude and 179° 33' W. longitude.
These archipelagos were divided among several more or less constitutional monarchies; the Kingdoms of Tonga, Niuē., Wallis and the two Kingdoms of Futuna.
Tonga and Niuē. are under British protectorate, Wallis and Futuna, under French.

By the early 20th century freedom of worship was theoretically recognised everywhere except in Niuē., which was exclusively Protestant; Wallis and Futuna were entirely Catholic.
In Tonga there were Catholics, Methodists belonging to the Sydney conference, independent Methodists forming a national Church, some Anglicans, Adventists and Mormons.
The total population was 34,000, with 9200 Catholics.

There were 35 Catholic churches; 21 European and 1 native Marist priests, and 3 native secular priests; 28 schools with 2039 children; 2 colleges; 1 seminary.
The establishments for girls were under the care of 52 Sisters of the Third Order of Mary.
The boys' schools were conducted by native lay teachers; the colleges and the seminary by priests.
The islands were divided into districts, with resident missionaries assembling every month for an ecclesiastical conference.
There were annual retreats for the priests, for the sisters and for the catechists, besides general retreats for the faithful about every two years.
In each village there was a sodality of men (Kan Apositolo) and another of women (Fakafeao).
The yearly number of baptisms averaged 310; of marriages, 105.
Mgr Bataillon was the first vicar Apostolic, succeeded by Mgr. Lamaze, at whose death (1906) succeeded his coadjutor, Mgr Amand Olier, S.M., from (1910) vicar Apostolic.
The vicariate has given to the Church the proto-martyr of Oceania, Bl. P. Chanel.

Christmas 2008.
The Catholic Mission Community and New Zealand High Commissioner entertains our Tupuna.

The New Zealand High Commissioner has been hosting the Tupuna Christmas function at the New Zealand Official Residence at Tapeu since December 2004 and enthusiastically supported the Catholic Mission Community in this annual event.

"The New Zealand High Commission is happy to provide the venue, and lend support to the Catholic Mission to facilitate the holding of this function in honour of Niue's senior citizens," said HE Brian Smythe in welcoming his guests.

Not all of Niue's resident Tupuna managed to attend the function this year, some are away in New Zealand on medical referral, others have gone early for Christmas with their children and avoid the last minute rush while the remainder probably stayed home for lack of suitable transport or have passed away since December last year.

The annual get together is a popular event, more so with our Tupuna who have spent most of their time by themselves or with their families in the villages, enjoying the familiar environs and happy to be in their own homes where they have spent most of their lives.
HE Smythe offered a sensible solution in view of proposed plans to expand the facilities at Niue Foou Hospital for those in need of 24 hour care.

"…to my mind a better course might be to carry care out to the villages so that people can stay in their own home as long as possible to be with their children and grand children around them."

The Catholic Mission spokesperson, Mr Sefeti congratulated the caregivers for continuing to care and support their Tupuna in their homes and for bringing them to this special Christmas event where they socialised with one another, sang Christmas Carols together as well as the songs of their time.
He also thanked the New Zealand High Commissioner for his continued patronage and allowing our Tupuna an opportunity to visit the 'Tapeu Residence'.
For the present Tupuna it was a rare honour to be invited to the ‘Residence’ when they were young and many had little opportunity to view it at close quarters until the former High Commissioner, Sandra Lee Vercoe in 2004 offered the use of the venue for the annual Christmas Party.
While millions of visitors get to wander through India’s famous Taj Mahal, only the privileged few locals ever got close enough let alone be admitted inside the 'Tapeu Residence as it was then commonly known.
Thankfully HE Smythe was more than happy to open up the doors and invite his guests for a closer encounter but our Tupuna while tempted to accept respectfully declined knowing the required traditional protocol that is associated with the privacy of the New Zealand High Commissioner's home.

It is amazing to know that the 20 or so 75 year old Tupuna who attended this year's function their combined ages totaled 1,500 years – about as long ago as Niue was permanently settled by our ancestors and began to build a nation that we today enjoy and proud to call home.
Equally as amazing is that among those present were former doctors, nurses teachers and midwives, planters and fishermen, hunters and gatherers, composers and storytellers, pastors and deacons, warriors of the sunrise and most important repository of our unique heritage, every single one of them, flag bearers of our Taoga.
And you should have heard them sing – amazing!

Diocese of Rarotonga (Cook Islands) - suffragan see of Suva (Fiji) has ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the Parish in Niue.


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