Niue - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile

Niue, an Island Nation located 1500 miles Northeast of New Zealand has a total land area of 100 square miles and a population of around 1400. Though self governing, Niue works through New Zealand for its diplomatic relations. It is a coral island with plenty of limestone caves and cliffs along the coast. Its soil composition with high levels of natural radioactivity had baffled geologists for some time and the findings point to either extreme weathering of coral, endothermal upwelling of seawater, or brief sea submergence. Fisheries, agriculture and tourism are the significant contributors to the economy. Taro, vanilla and noni are the cash crops of the country.

Travel Resources:

May through September is the best time to visit this safe and friendly coral island. As it is not a crowded place, visitors get to commune with nature and local culture. With its caves, chasms, sea tracks, beaches, and forests Niue provides a refreshing and satisfying getaway. Its cuisine consists of taro, vegetables and fish. Papaya, yam, breadfruit, cassava, coconut are also used extensively.


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Lonely Planet South Pacific – Multi Country Guide978-1741047868$19Niue is covered in about eleven pages. The first 97 pages is a traveler’s introduction to the South Pacific.
Universal World Wide Travel Charger Adapter PlugB001MGUB9Q$4

Philatelic Profile:

The first stamp of Niue was a ‘Niue’ handstamped overprint on New Zealand Scott #100 showing the Commerce symbol. The stamp is very rare and catalogs for around $375 mint or used. Handstamp overprints formed the primary stamp issues of Niue till 1920. Chief among them were a set of nine stamps released between 1917 and 1920 that were overprints on New Zealand stamps from 1909 to 1919. The set (Scott #21 to #29) catalogs for around $35 mint and around $115 used. Same overprints on postal-fiscal stamps of New Zealand during the period form 1906 to 1915 were also released between 1918 and 1923. That set (Scott #30 to #34) is very rare and sought after and catalogs for around $340 mint and over $500 for used. Niue was annexed by New Zealand in 1901. It attained self government in free association with New Zealand in 1974. Niue is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State.

The first original issues of Niue were a set of six stamps released on August 23, 1920 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #35 to #40) catalogs for around $15 mint and around $75 used. There is a center inverted variety (Scott #39a) that is extremely rare and catalogs for around $500. The designs show Landing of Captain Cook, Avarua Waterfront, portrait of Captain James Cook, coconut palm, Arorangi Village, and Avarua Harbor.

Other issues of Niue enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of seven stamps released on March 16, 1932 showing historically relevant scenes. The set (Scott #53 to #59) catalogs for around $45 mint and around $175 used. A watermarked variety of the same set was released between 1933 and 1936. That set (Scott #60 to #66) catalogs for around $14 mint and around $40 used. The designs show Landing of Captain Cook, portrait of Captain James Cook, Polynesian Migratory Canoe, islanders unloading ship, View of Avarua harbor, R.M.S. Monowai, and a portrait of King George V (KGV).
  2. A set of ten stamps released on July 3, 1950 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #94 to #103) catalogs for around $12 MNH or used. The designs show Map of Niue, H.M.S. Resolution, Alofi Landing, thatched dwelling, Alofi Bay, fisherman, Cave at Makefu, gathering bananas, and Matapa Chasm.
  3. A set of ten stamps released on March 3, 1976 showing local scenes. The set (Scott #179 to #188) catalogs for around $5 MNH or used. The designs show preparing ground for taro cultivation, planting taro, banana harvesting, bush plantation, shellfish gathering, reef fishing, fern harvesting, canoe fishing, husking coconuts, and hunting land crab. Subsistence agriculture is part of Niuean lifestyle with most households having taro plantations. Other items featured in this set are also part of their culture.
  4. A set of nine stamps released on August 15, 1983 in the Save the Whales Campaign. The set (Scott #380 to #388) catalogs for around $25 MNH and around half that for used. The designs show right whale, fin whale, Sei whale, blue whale, bowhead whale, sperm whale, humpback whale, Lesser Rorqual, and gray whale.
  5. A set of four stamps released on June 16, 1999 in the Scenic Views theme. The set (Scott #734 to #737) catalogs for around $7 MNH or used. The designs show Togo Chasm, Matapa Chasm, Tufukia, and Talava Arches. Tourism is an important economic sector although Air New Zealand is the sole airline with a weekly flight. 
Numismatic Profile:

The first coin of Niue was a New Zealand Dependent State Decimal Coinage Copper-Nickel 5 Dollars coin in the Olympics Tennis theme showing Crowned arms within sprigs in Obverse and Boris Becker in the classic tennis action and denomination in Reverse. The issue has a mintage of 80K and catalogs for around $6 UNC. Niue has issued a number of commemorative bullion coins over the years including gold proofs.



Last Updated: 12/2015.

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