It's Raining It's Pouring ........
John & Irene Hunt
Thu 5 Jun 2008 23:11
What happened to the blue south pacific. Niue is a New Zealand protectorate and it's raining so bad that it could be NZ. We can't see more than 300 metres in any direction and the only way we know Niue is here is on radar!
NIUE what does it mean. "NIU" = Coconut. "E" = Behold. The locals reckon that when the first Polynesian settlers arrived a 1000 years ago the conversation went something like "Eh Bro, this place has coconuts just like home so I reckon we stay here".
Niue is the largest uplifted coral atoll in the world. Now what does 'uplifted' mean exactly. As far as I can tell a coral atoll formed on top of a volcano which has just reach sea level and then the volcano sunk a little and the coral spread over the top of the volcano to form a solid mass with no lagoon. At a later time the volcano started to rise again, lifting the coral about 80 metres into the air.
Which leads us to the Niuean method of burial. For a start there are no formal cemeteries, people get buried all over, front yard of a house, a small clearing alongside a roadway some where or where ever the tribal land is they want to bury their kin in! A backhoe arrives and scrapes a shallow grave into the hard coral base, the deceased is laid into this depression in the ground in a plain plywood box, as the ceremony ends, the concrete mixer starts up, pre made formwork is placed around the hole and the whole lot is covered in concrete. Often there is a concrete plinth added at a later date and of course an elaborate marble headstone. The graves are well tended and flowers every where.
Niue is an independent nation in free association with New Zealand. There are around 1500 Niueans living on the island and around 15,000 living outside. All Niueans have automatic New Zealand citizenship which means a whole lot of the 15,000 live in Australia. Met Niueans from Maroubra, Bondi, Leichhardt etc.
Niue has considerable uranium deposits which miners have been petitioning the locals to mine for years but to get to it that would have to break through the fresh water levels under the land and this would cause considerable ecological problems so to date the government has resisted all approaches. There is a small village over the deposits which have a lot higher cancer rate than the rest of the island!
James Cook tried to land here in 1774 and local legend says that he and his men were scared off by a vigorous welcoming HAKA. He named Niue 'The Savage Islands'.
One flight a week into Niue from NZ and one flight out. Departs NZ at 22:30, arrives Niue 02:40 the same day as Niue is across the International Date Line and at 03:30 the only flight out leaves for Auckland.
Lorraine & Chip leave us here and we are going to be joined by Avelyn Davidson & Ian Massam, mates from Taupo in NZ.
Another up date soon.