Newy to Niue

LOGGED JUNE 14, 2014: “You’re moving where?”

This is the general reaction I got when I told people I was moving to Niue (pronounced – New – AY). Of the hundreds of people I told that I was moving (I was perhaps a tad excited), only a handful have heard of it before – mainly sailors or whale enthusiasts or Kiwis. Most people thought I was talking about the city where I am from – Newcastle, Australia (otherwise known as Newy by locals).

Niue’s relative anonymity is probably why I like it so much.

The last paradise.

Newy to Niue. Image: Google Maps

Located halfway between Tonga and Samoa in the South Pacific, Niue has held the titles of Rock of Polynesia and (as locals claim unfairly!) Savage Island. It’s known for being the first Wi-fi nation, one of three places in the world that you can swim with humpback whales, and home to some of the friendliest people on earth.

After the Vatican, it has the smallest population of any country in the world with 1,300 residents living on the island. For this reason, it is not uncommon to be greeted by a local at the airport (for the one of two planes that come to the island per week), then rent a vehicle from them, see them running a show at the Matavai Resort and the next day fishing from a vaka (a traditional canoe). Oh and they are probably also a Minister of Parliament or head of an important committee.

Niue could be classed by some as third world, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. There is no poverty here. Crime is an absolute rarity. Everyone has access to free clean fresh water, free education and free medical. In many ways, this exceeds current western world standards.

There are many things I love about Niue, but mainly it is the friendly and unpretentious feel of the island and its people. The terrain is unexplored and wild, there is an adventurous spirit, lack of nightlife and McDonalds, and strong sense of community and respect. For me, it’s my sacred place.