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Cyclone Heta

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.

Cyclone Heta
Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Formed: January 2, 2004 (2004-01-02)
Dissipated: January 8, 2004 (2004-01-09)
Highest winds: 215 km/h (130 mph) (10-minute sustained)
260 km/h (160 mph) (1-minute sustained)
Lowest pressure: 915 hPa (mbar)
Fatalities: 1 direct
Damage: $150 million (2004 USD) $170 million (2009 USD)
Areas affected: Samoa, Tonga, Niue, American Samoa
Part of the 2003-04 South Pacific cyclone season.

Cyclone Heta was a powerful Category 5 tropical cyclone that caused catastrophic damage to the islands of Tonga, Niue, and American Samoa during late December 2003 and early January 2004.
Heta formed on December 25, 2003; it reached a maximum intensity of 160 mph (260 km/h) and an estimated pressure of 915 millibars before dissipating on January 11, 2004.
It was the first tropical cyclone to form in the area of responsibility of the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) at Nadi, Fiji, during the 2003-04 Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season.

The damage Heta caused on Tonga, Niue, and American Samoa was estimated at $150 million dollars (2004 USD), with most of the damage occurring in American Samoa; the cyclone was also responsible for one death.
Heta precipitated a massive relief and clean-up operation that lasted throughout 2004.

Meteorological history
Storm path
Heta formed from a tropical wave between Rotuma and Fiji on December 25, 2003.
It moved eastward to a position north of Fiji, where it was designated Tropical Depression 3-F on December 28.
The depression migrated first northward and then eastward until January 2, 2004, when it reached tropical storm strength and was named Heta.
At this point, low wind shear and high sea surface temperatures caused Heta to intensify rapidly.
On January 3, Heta, aided by a weak steering current, slowly began to move to the southeast as it became a Category 1 hurricane.

The centre of Heta passed 70 miles (110 km) west of Samoa as the storm reached Category 2 status.
Heta reached a peak intensity of 160 mph (235 km/h) and maintained it for 24 hours as it continued its south-southeastward track.
By that time, Heta was centered 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Tonga, close to the island of Niue.
By January 7, Cyclone Heta had exited the Nadi RMSC's area of responsibility and entered that of the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre at Wellington, New Zealand.
The storm slowly weakened as it encountered the cooler waters of the far South Pacific.
Heta became extratropical 525 miles (845 km) south of the island of Rarotonga later on the 7th.
These remnants of Heta slowed even further and moved westward, where they finally dissipated on January 11 east of Norfolk Island.

On January 2, the meteorologists of the Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific (AFAP) warned that Heta could hit Tokelau, and predicted that the storm would turn south and pass to the west of Samoa.
The following day, however, the advisory area was extended to include Samoa and then Niue and Tonga.
At that point, the AFAP forecast that the storm would hit Niue as a Category 2 or 3 tropical cyclone in 12-24 hours.
On January 6, when Heta reached Category 5 status, the AFAP predicted that the storm would hit Tonga and its surrounding islands the following day, bringing strong wind and rain damage.
In Niue, anticipating that the storm would bring catastrophic damage, 1300 residents sought shelter in their homes while others evacuated coastal areas to higher ground.
In Samoa and American Samoa, although hurricane warnings were in effect, there were no reports of evacuations or storm shelters being opened before the storm.

Cyclone Heta caused over $150+ million dollars (2004 USD) in damage and one fatality in its path across Tonga, Niue, Samoa, and American Samoa.

During its early stages, Heta brought heavy rains and light winds but caused little or no damage.
In Wallis and Futuna, however, high winds knocked out power and there was minor to moderate damage to buildings and crops.
In Tonga, Heta's strong winds damaged houses and caused severe crop damage, mostly to breadfruit, mango, tava and bananas.
In Tafahi and Niuatoputapu, 50-100% of the homes and buildings were destroyed by the cyclone's powerful, Category 5 winds.
However, because of advanced warnings, there were no deaths or injuries.
Structural damage in Tonga amounted to $160,000 dollars (2004 USD).

In Niue, a weather station recorded a barometric pressure of 945 millibars before it became inoperable.
The capital city of Alofi, which took the brunt of the storm, was devastated as most of the commercial and financial areas were wiped out by the high winds.
Damage to communications and electronic infrastructure was also great as the storm damaged a satellite dish and disabled 75% of Niue's computer database.
The storm surge brought by Heta left two people dead.
In all, the storm caused over $85 million (2004 NZD) in damage on the island, five times its 2003 GDP of $17 million.

For more information about Cyclone Heta see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Heta) 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.


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