Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. It's the westernmost of the Cook Islands, but a separate administration.
It stretches 19 km from north to south, covering an area of just under 260 square km.
Niueans usually call their island The Rock or they say 'Niu ē', which translates as 'behold the coconut'.
The island has two distinct levels. The upper level is a central plateau. It slopes steeply down at its edges to a coastal terrace. A reef surrounds the island.
The rainfall on Niue averages about 80 inches (2,000 mm) per year. It falls mostly during heavy storms from December to March. The island's soil is extremely porous. So people catch the rain running from the roofs to give them a water supply.
The vegetation is scant but includes large trees such as banyans and Tahiti chestnuts. There are also coconuts, fan palms and pandanus as well as hibiscus and other shrubs.
Passion fruit, coconuts, pawpaw and limes are cash crops. The islanders also grow taro (locally called 'talo'), yams, bananas, sugarcane, papaya and guava. They keep pigs, chickens and cattle and go out fishing to supplement their diet.
The sale of fishing licenses and the provision of offshore banking services are important revenue sources.
All Niueans are New Zealand citizens.
Captain James Cook, who in 1774 made three attempts to land, named it Savage Island, because legend has it that the inhabitants appeared to be painted in blood. However, the substance wasn't blood but 'hulahula', a native red banana.
Rugby is the most popular sport, and it is played by men and women.
Niue made its debut in the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, competing in Athletics, Boxing, Rugby and Shooting.