Photos of Niue's Polynesian culture, Niue

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Niue's Polynesian culture

Like all Polynesian people, Niueans love to celebrate. A major event for teenage boys is their "hair cutting ceremony". From early childhood, many boys grow their hair long, cared for by their sisters, mothers and aunts and then it is ritually cut at a gathering held at the boy's home, usually on a Saturday.

Hair cutting ceremony
Women and children
Children at the party
Offering cakes and taro
Pastor cutting hair
Cutting brother's hair
Weaving a basket
Bundles of taro
Dance from Niue
Niue men's dance
Niue performance
Traditional dance of Niue

Guests invited to the feast give large amounts of food and money to a fund for the boy that he receives minus expenses. The pastor and close family members cut the beribboned locks and everyone sits down to the feast later on. This helps to maintain reciprocal ties within the extended family and community.

Polynesian culture is alive and thriving as can be seen when displayed at the Festival of Pacific Arts. Taoga Niue is a government project which promotes Niuean culture and heritage. The Niuean language is a western Polynesian language closely related to Tongan, with slight pronunciation and spelling differences between the Motu and Tafiti moieties. Most Niueans however are bilingual: Niuean tends to be the language of family and village life, and English is the language of business. Considerable switching between both languages occurs in every day life. 90-95% of Niuean people now live in New Zealand, with about 70% speaking Niuean.