‘Our kids don’t want to eat taro anymore’: Exploring cultural shift challenges for Niue in a climate changed and globalised world

Type Working Paper
Title ‘Our kids don’t want to eat taro anymore’: Exploring cultural shift challenges for Niue in a climate changed and globalised world
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
URL http://eugcca.usp.ac.fj/Portals/0/Documents/PACE Occasional Paper Series_2012_No​1_McNamaraTogahai_Final.pdf
Various and diverse resources are needed for communities to sustain their livelihoods. At the community
level, it is important to understand their availability of and access to livelihood resources in appreciating
long-term sustainability challenges. The countries of the Pacific region are culturally rich and diverse,
with long oral histories and strong linkages to local environments. Niue is no exception. However, there is
a growing concern that the country, with a mere 1,460 residents (Government of Niue, 2011), is faced
with numerous challenges that underpin its long-term sustainability. This paper is based on recent
research carried out in three village communities in Niue: Avatele; Makefu; and Tamakautoga. Such
research sought to explore the current status of livelihood resources in each of these communities, and the
main problems faced by the community in ensuring their longevity. This PACE-SD occasional paper
reports on some of these findings. In undertaking this somewhat cursory study, we acknowledge the much
more detailed and comprehensive research has been undertaken on Niue elsewhere (see Terry and
Murray, 2004).
A national government exists in Niue, made up of the Premier and cabinet of ministers, as does a local
government (or ‘village council’), which is made up of a chair, vice-chair and three members for the
bigger villages and four members for the smaller villages. Both these levels of government are elected
every three years and there is no limit to the number of terms that they can run for these positions. The
village council, under the Department of Community Affairs, handles all government business at the local
level including the upkeep of the village grounds and village sanitation, such as the outbreak of dengue
fever in early 2012 (after being dormant for nearly two decades). The village council positions are not
remunerated and hence are voluntary positions. The national government is responsible for sectors
including education, telecommunications, health, infrastructure, justice, lands and survey, civil aviation
and tourism.

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