What next? A look at Niue's future

by Dr J Floor Anthoni (2004-2005)
Nobody will ever be able to predict the future for Niue, but it is possible to get a feel for current and future problems, Niue's limitations and prospects. On the one hand, Niue is an unfulfilled paradise, yet on the other hand it is not easy to live there. Surely, there exists a way to maximise the positives and to minimise the negatives? Perhaps unforeseen possibilities exist, new openings nobody has ever thought about. This chapter leaves the exact path of science and dares to challenge you, the reader to think along with us.
  • constraints: the rules for finding solutions to Niue's problems
  • benefits: what makes Niue a paradise and how can these benefits be maximised?
  • problems: what are Niue's problems and how could these be minimised?
  • business: liabilities and benefits for doing business with Niue and how this can be enhanced


For suggestions and corrections, please e-mail the author Dr Floor Anthoni.
-- Seafriends home -- Niue index -- sitemap -- Rev 20041130,

The idea is to make Niue self-sufficient so that it can pay its way in the world and repair from its own resources the damages wrought by future hurricanes. But in doing so, Niue should not lose its present character, its culture and the qualities that define it. However, when something fails, it is typical of human thought to do more of the same, to seek expensive technological solutions and to legislate as if laws are in any way productive. All these solutions are expensive and sure to fail in a poorly resourced state like Niue. So, the solutions to Niue's problems should be smarter than we are used to.

Historically, there have been many philosophers imagining utopias (Gk: eu= well/good; topos= place; an imagined perfect place or state of things) but in practice these always failed due to the frailties of human nature. Instead we seem to be stuck with the Western freemarket free-enterprise system, believing that this is also the best we can do. Niue, playing part in the same world, being a member of the United Nations with all its declarations and obligations, dealing with the World Trade Organisation, being organised by a Westminster type of democracy under English law, cannot really choose to be different, yet needs to be different enough to solve its unique problems.

These problems are experienced also by other small island states in the Pacific, as they have already pooled their resources to think it over, but so far without practical results [1,2,3]. In principle, Niue needs to progress such that:

It pays to remember that our Western societies do not score favourably on the above list to the extent that we have become dependent on an ever increasing complexity which is becoming too expensive to sustain. Instead of enjoying more free time, people have to work harder in order to sustain their material needs. People socialise less, talk less and have little time for one another. We have become wasteful of labour, energy and materials. Niue must not follow this path.

The creation of wealth has come a long way from the agrarian society to what it is today. But what kind of economies would be most suitable for Niue? From our chapter on resource management [5], we quote:

From the above summary it would seem that Niue should embrace the agrarian and robot economies with care, while avoiding unnecessary costs and infrastructure. Not mentioned above are the following economies:

At the moment Niue is a self-governing state with aid from New Zealand and other sources. To maintain the apparatus of an independent state, for the sake of some thousand inhabitants, is very wasteful and does little to solve Niue's problems. Yet becoming incorporated into New Zealand, would introduce unenforceable top-heavy legislation and very wasteful practices. Niue needs something in between where it can govern itself as part of New Zealand, but following its own ways.

Happy is the land that has neither taxes, nor paid civil service, nor prisons, nor police!
The problem that puzzled Plato and Confucius and Machiavelli and Locke and Jeremy Bentham,
has never troubled Niue, for it has not felt the need for these things. - Sir Basil Thomson 1902.

[1] SPREP South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (www.sprep.org)
[2] WiCoP Forum (www.csiwisepractices.org)
[3] University of the South Pacific, Fiji (www.)
[4] Science, technology and human nature (www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/probl/science.htm) - an essay detailing how our minds lead us astray.
[5] Resource management (www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/cons/resource.htm) - principles of resource management and what we do wrong.

When trying to solve Niue's problems, one may easily overlook the fact that Niue also has many advantages. By maximising the positives, these benefits could deliver more tangible wealth.
Although the above list is long, it would be possible to improve on only some of the points mentioned above, towards more self-sufficiency.

The problems besetting Niue must be quite enormous indeed for so many of its people having left their native island. We list them here frankly so that they can be identified and minimised.

Business considerations
For businesses to establish themselves, there are more hurdles. The information presented here originates from a presentation of Kim Gordon in September 2004.