The largest elevated coral island in the world is the island of Niue, with an area of 260 km2, which is the eponymous island nation in the South Pacific in the Pacific Ocean, near Tonga, 2400 km northeast of New Zealand.
It has been an independent territory since 1974, but is linked to New Zealand by treaty. It has just over 1,700 inhabitants in 14 settlements, including the capital Alofi, which makes up North and South Alofi, the seat of government, with a total population of about 600, and it is the smallest capital in the world.
Other most famous settlements are Hakupu, the second largest village in Niue with 220 inhabitants, Tamakautoga with 160, Vaiea with a hundred inhabitants, as well as the northernmost Mutalau, Fagalilika, where the only hospital on the island, Hikutavake with about 50 inhabitants, Tahileleki on the west coast of the island, Patuoko, Falehavaiki, etc. The smallest settlements are Toi with about twenty inhabitants and Namukulu with about ten of them. Niue had the largest population in 1970, when there were just over 5,000, but due to mass emigration to New Zealand, that number dropped by more than 50 percent.
The island of Niue was inhabited by Polynesians, and the first European to come to it was James Cook in 1774, but because of the hostile local population he did not agree to it, but because of that he named the island Savage Island. Very briefly from 1900 Niue was a British protectorate, until 1901 when it was annexed by New Zealand as part of the Cook Islands. But in 1904 Niue seceded from the Cook Islands, and in 1974 signed a treaty to join New Zealand.
Niue has joined New Zealand in the sense that that country pursues Niue’s foreign and defense policy, but only when requested by the Niue government and only with the consent of that same government. Niue has not yet become a member of the United Nations, but UN organizations accept the status of Niue as a status equivalent to independence. Interestingly, Niue has about 1,600 inhabitants, making it one of the smallest countries in the world. Only the Vatican has fewer inhabitants than Niue.
Because Niue is closely associated with New Zealand, whose supreme authority is the British heir to the throne, so is the current Queen Elizabeth II. and the head of state of Niue. Following the hierarchical scale in London is the High Representative for Niue, New Zealander Sandra Lee-Vercoe, and the island's prime minister, 53-year-old Alofi-born Dalton Tagelagi, who was elected by the Niue Legislative Assembly in 2020. Although Niue is an associated country of New Zealand, it maintains diplomatic relations with 20 countries, including Australia, France, Italy, Turkey, China, Israel, Japan, India… and Kosovo since June 23, 2015. Niue's economy is quite modest, In 2016, the gross domestic product was about 25 million US dollars and it is based on fishing and processing of fresh tuna and the cultivation of the noni plant, whose juice is exported to foreign markets. Namely, the leaf, fruit and root of this small tree, which grows on the Pacific islands along the coast on rocky, volcanic soil and sandy soil, is very resistant to adverse climatic conditions, and has long been used in indigenous traditional cultures as a remedy for various diseases. As a root vegetable, taro is grown, a tropical plant from one to two meters high, with leaves up to 60 cm long, which is in demand in the markets of New Zealand and Australia. Almost all households have a tare plantation. As expected, the New Zealand dollar is in use in Niue, and it should also be mentioned that the economy suffered great damage from Cyclone Heta in early 2004, which severely devastated the island. There is an international airport on the island, as well as a primary and secondary school.
Most of the territory of this state is an impenetrable jungle. There is only a ring road (three and a half meters wide) on the coast, which connects the eastern and western part of the island.
How beautiful this world is! And what beautiful corals! I have beads made of them😁