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Niue[1] [print]

Last edited November 2005


Summary and Analysis


Niue is a 260 sq. km. island located in the South Pacific Ocean. The island became a British protectorate at the turn of the 20th century. Shortly thereafter New Zealand took over responsibility, and from from 1901-1974, Niue remained a territory of New Zealand.[2] Since 1974, Niue has been a self-governing sovereign country in free association with New Zealand.  New Zealand retains responsibility for Niue's external affairs and defense while Niue is fully responsible for its own internal affairs. However, New Zealand's responsibilities confer no rights of control, and can only be exercised at the request of the government of Niue.[3] All Niueans are New Zealand citizens and over 20,000 Niueans physically reside in New Zealand, compared to the estimated 2,000 living on the island of Niue itself.[4]


To the best of our knowledge, Niue does not have a formal child protective system. Niue's single law related to child protection is the Guardianship Act of 1968 (excerpted below), which is actually a New Zealand statute with force in Niue. The Guardianship Act does not speak directly to neglect and abuse proceedings, but it provides that the Supreme Court has discretion to appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) for a child in any court proceeding. In New Zealand, the Guardianship Act was replaced in July, 2005 by the Care of Children Act 2004 No. 86; it is unclear whether this replacement also applies to Niue.[5]


It appears likely that a number of New Zealand's numerous child protection laws (see RCW's New Zealand page) apart from the Guardianship Act also have force in Niue (The Niue Act 1966 §676 below). As the Foreign Law Guide states:


In many instances where a New Zealand enactment has been extended to Niue, before or after independence, and has not been subsequently amended, it is reasonably safe to assume that reference to the New Zealand law would serve equally for Niue. In some cases however, care must be exercised to ensure that a New Zealand enactment extended to Niue on a particular date has not been subject to later New Zealand amendments that may or may not have been extended to Niue.


Despite our best efforts, we were unable to successfully contact any person or organization working in the child protection field in Niue to confirm whether New Zealand's laws concerning child protection have force in Niue. Moreover, Niue has not submitted any reports to the Committee on the Rights of Child concerning the status of its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so we are without even a general description of the country's laws and practice concerning children's rights.[6]


If New Zealand's child protection laws do in fact apply to Niue, Niue's child protective system might be much more robust than we currently understand it to be. In any case, regardless of whether Niue has officially adopted New Zealand's child protective laws, New Zealand's child protective system is having an enormous practical effect on the lives of Niueans since the Niuean population residing in New Zealand is nearly ten times that living on the island of Niue itself.



Sources of Law




New Zealand, Guardianship Act 1968

§8 - Court-appointed guardians [7]

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the Court may at any time, on application made for the purpose or on the making of an order under section 10 of this Act, appoint a guardian of a child either as sole guardian or in addition to any other guardian, and either generally or for any particular purpose, and either until the child attains the age of [20] years or sooner marries, or for any shorter period.

(2) The Supreme Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to appoint and remove a guardian ad litem in respect of any proceedings before that or any higher Court, and may appoint or remove a guardian ad litem in respect of any proceedings before any other Court.


New Zealand, The Niue Act 1966, Part XXXII The Laws of Niue: General Provisions


§692 - Parts of Infants Act in force in Niue[8]

 (1) Part I and Part II of the Infants Act 1908* (relating to the guardianship, custody, contracts, and wills of infants) shall be in force in Niue.

(2) Every reference in that Act to the Supreme Court shall, in its application to Niue, be read as a reference to the High Court.

*See now Guardianship Act 1968 (NZ) and Minors' Contracts Act 1969 (NZ).


§676 - When enactment in force in Niue, amendments and regulations to be in force also [9]

(1) [Subject to Article 36 of the Constitution,] when any enactment of the Parliament of New Zealand is in force in Niue, every existing or future amendment of that enactment, and all existing or future regulations, rules, Orders in Council, and other acts of authority in force under any such enactment [and every enactment passed in substitution for any such enactment,] shall, as far as applicable and with all necessary modifications, be or become also in force therein, except where otherwise expressly provided.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in this section, [but subject to Article 36 of the Constitution,] rules of Court in force in New Zealand under any enactment which is in force in Niue shall not themselves be in force



Additional Resources and Links


Niue Government Online



List of Niue Legislation, Acts in Force



The University of the South Pacific Library







[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Niue Government Online, available at www.niuegov.com/.

[3] CIA, The World Factbook,  available at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ .

[4] Niue Government Online, available at www.niuegov.com/.

[5] See RCW's New Zealand page, available here.

[6] See United Nations High Commission on Human Rights' Treaty Body Database website, available at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf.

[7] New Zealand, Guardianship Act 1968, § 8, available at http://www.paclii.org/nu/legis/nu-nz_act/ga1968174/, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[8] New Zealand, The Niue Act 1966, § 692 available at http://www.paclii.org/nu/legis/nu-nz_act/na196666/, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[9] New Zealand, The Niue Act 1966, § 676 available at http://www.paclii.org/nu/legis/nu-nz_act/na196666/, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.


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