Niue ( NEW-ay; Niuean: Niuē) is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand, east of Tonga, south of Samoa, and west of the Cook Islands. Niue's land area is about 261 square kilometres (101 sq mi) and its population, predominantly Polynesian, was about 1,600 in 2016. The island is commonly referred to as "The Rock", which comes from the traditional name "Rock of Polynesia". Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. The terrain of the island has two noticeable levels. The higher level is made up of a limestone cliff running along the coast, with a plateau in the centre of the island reaching approximately 60 metres (200 feet) high above sea level. The lower level is a coastal terrace approximately 0.5 km (0.3 miles) wide and about 25–27 metres (80–90 feet) high, which slopes down and meets the sea in small cliffs. A coral reef surrounds the island, with the only major break in the reef being in the central western coast, close to Alofi. A notable feature are the many limestone caves near the coast.
Niue, whose capital is the village of Alofi, is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand; and New Zealand conducts most diplomatic relations (though not all) on its behalf. Niueans are citizens of New Zealand, and Queen Elizabeth II is head of state in her capacity as Queen of New Zealand. Between 90–95% of Niuean people live in New Zealand, along with about 70% of the speakers of the Niuean language. Niue is a bilingual country, with 30% of the population speaking both Niuean and English, though the percentage of monolingual English-speaking people is only 11%, while 46% are monolingual Niuean speakers.
Niue is not a member of the United Nations (UN), but UN organisations have accepted its status as a freely-associated state as equivalent to independence for the purposes of international law. As such, Niue is a member of some UN specialised agencies (such as UNESCO, and the WHO), and is invited, alongside the other non-UN member state, the Cook Islands, to attend United Nations conferences open to "all states". Niue is subdivided into 14 villages (municipalities). Each village has a village council that elects its chairman. The villages are at the same time electoral districts; each village sends an assemblyman to the Parliament of Niue. A small and democratic nation, Niueans hold legislative elections every 3 years.
In 2003, Niue became the first country in the world to provide state-funded wireless internet to all inhabitants. Niue Island Organic Farmers Association is currently paving way to a Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) committed to making Niue the world's first fully organic nation by 2020. A leader in green growth, Niue is also focusing on solar power provision, with help from the European Union. Niue aims to become 80% renewable by 2025. On the other hand, Niue currently deals with one of the highest rates of greenhouse gas production per capita in the world (behind only Kuwait and Brunei). In 2015, Niue started providing phone landlines to all of its inhabitants. In 2008, Niue became the first country in the world where laptops are provided to all school students.
In January 2004, Niue was hit by Cyclone Heta, which caused extensive damage to the island, including wiping out most of the south of the capital, Alofi. The disaster set the island back about two years from its planned timeline to implement the Niue Integrated Strategic Plan (NISP), since national efforts concentrated on recovery.