Tāoga_Niue_Museum Latitude and Longitude:

19°03′08″S 169°55′17″W / 19.05220°S 169.9214°W / -19.05220; -169.9214
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Tāoga Niue Museum
PredecessorHuanaki Cultural Centre & Museum
Moira Enetama

19°03′08″S 169°55′17″W / 19.05220°S 169.9214°W / -19.05220; -169.9214Tāoga Niue Museum is a national museum and cultural centre located in Alofi, Niue. It replaced the Huanaki Cultural Centre & Museum, which was destroyed by Cyclone Heta in 2004.


In 2004 Cyclone Heta hit Niue, damaging much of the capital, Alofi. Damage included the destruction of the Huanaki Cultural Centre & Museum building, and the loss of between 90–95% of the collection. [1] [2] [3] Restoration of the museum and cultural preservation was recognised as an important aspect of the Government of Niue's strategic plan 2009–13. [4] Construction for the new museum began in 2018, funded with a US$2.7 million grant from the New Zealand government. [5] [6] The new museum opened in October 2018. [7] The opening coincided with Niue's celebrations of its constitution, which, for the first time, were held at a location away from parliament at the new museum. [8]

The museum includes an auditorium, cafe, storage facility and stage, as well as a display space. [5] In 2019 the museum hosted an exhibition as part of the Taoga Niue Festival. [9]


Following Cyclone Heta, between 5–10% of the museum collection was salvaged. [10] [3] Salvaged objects included those relating to Niue and the First World War, including photographs and a uniform, [11] as well as examples of weaving from Niue. [10] Objects that were lost included two fragments of Niuean throwing stones. [12] Director of Taoga Niue, the governmental department overseeing cultural activities, Moira Enetama, described the situation as "not only a loss of material culture but a loss of belongingness, the ownership, the head and the intangible heritage of Niue". [6]

In 2005 the museum also began to rebuild its collection, which now includes award-winning woven hats that were displayed in New Zealand. [10] Museum staff also scavenged rubbish dumps across the island for objects that would help to rebuild the collection. [6] One example were hand woven fishnets, the craft of which is no longer practiced in Niue. [6] The museum also travelled to all areas of the islands buying objects from traditional artists. [6] MP Va'aiga Tukuitonga recognised the urgency in updating the collection, as well as preserving cultural knowledge held in Niue, which has an aging population. [6]

Overseas collections

A significant amount of Niue's cultural and scientific heritage is held in collections overseas. One of the most common items in overseas collections are hiapo – traditional woven barkcloths specific to Niue. [3]

Te Papa holds 291 objects from Niue: the earliest object in their collection is a Niuean maka (throwing stone), which was presented in 1869 by Rev. John Inglis. [13] The British Museum's Niuean collection includes clubs, barkcloth, money, and other items. [14] Perth Museum in Scotland holds two wooden spears from Niue. [15] Glasgow Museums holds a fishing line made from human hair, as well as model canoes and other objects. [16] The Horniman Museum holds barkcloth, a noseflute, spears and other objects. [17] The Australian Museum holds the type specimens for Niue's only endemic butterfly Nacaduba niueensis (Niue Blue). [18]


From 2016, the museum expressed its intention to request the repatriation of objects that are held in overseas collections. [5] In 2007 Auckland War Memorial Museum returned the skull of an islander that was in its collection to community representatives in Auckland. [19] The remains were taken to a Niuean church, then subsequently re-buried in Niue. [20] [21] [19]

Gallery of Niuean objects in overseas collections


  1. ^ Barnett, Jon; Ellemor, Heidi (2007). "Niue after Cyclone Heta". Australian Journal of Emergency Management. 22 (1): 3–4.
  2. ^ Barnett, Jon (2008-06-01). "The Effect of Aid On Capacity To Adapt To Climate Change: Insights From Niue". Political Science. 60 (1): 31–45. doi: 10.1177/003231870806000104. ISSN  0032-3187. S2CID  155080576.
  3. ^ a b c Pasisi, Jessica Lili (2020). Kitiaga mo fakamahani e hikihikiaga matagi he tau fifine Niue: tau pūhala he tau hiapo Niue women's perspectives and experiences of climate change: a hiapo approach (Thesis thesis). The University of Waikato.
  4. ^ Niue National Strategic Plan: 2009–13 (PDF). Fakatufono Niue.
  5. ^ a b c Global, Loop (2016-11-23). "New museum to give home to Niue's culture and heritage". Loop Tonga. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Museum staff in Niue are working to restore its treasures". RNZ. 2017-05-10. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  7. ^ Pacific, Loop (2018-10-17). "Niue museum opens this week". Loop Samoa. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  8. ^ "Niue museum opens this week". RNZ. 2018-10-16. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  9. ^ "Taoga Museum Exhibition | Taoga Festival Niue". Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  10. ^ a b c "Art & Culture". The Official Website Of Niue Tourism. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  11. ^ "Niue's war effort unrecognised - Cook Islands News". 2021-10-25. Archived from the original on 2021-10-25. Retrieved 2021-10-25.
  12. ^ ISAAC, BARBARA; ISAAC, GWYNEIRA (2011). "Unexpected Trajectories: A History of Niuean Throwing Stones". The Journal of the Polynesian Society. 120 (4): 369–401. ISSN  0032-4000. JSTOR  41705894.
  13. ^ "Loading... | Collections Online – Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa". Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  14. ^ "Collections Online | British Museum". Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  15. ^ Haddow, Eve. Perth Museum & Art Gallery: Niue Collection (PDF). National Museums Scotland.
  16. ^ Haddow, Eve. Glasgow Museums: Niue Collection (PDF). National Museums Scotland.
  17. ^ "Horniman Museum and Gardens". Horniman Museum and Gardens. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  18. ^ "Niue Blue Nacaduba niueensis". The Australian Museum. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  19. ^ a b Fforde, Cressida; McKeown, C. Timothy; Keeler, Honor (2020-03-05). The Routledge Companion to Indigenous Repatriation: Return, Reconcile, Renew. Routledge. ISBN  978-1-351-39887-9.
  20. ^ "Museum returns stolen Niue skull". Stuff. 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  21. ^ "Rapa Nui Ancestors Returning Home". Canterbury Museum. Retrieved 2021-08-25.

External links