A living heritage

A modern hiapo design by Niue artist Charles Jessop

Unlike some other Polynesian cultures, Niueans have not had a strong tradition of preserving historical artifacts, oral storytelling or the recitation of genealogies.

However there has been a recent revival of several handicrafts, such as the building of canoes by hand and the making of hiapo (tapa) cloth from mulberry bark. Also, a government department known as Taoga Niue – which means the treasures or precious possessions of Niue – has been set up to preserve the country’s culture, traditions and heritage.

The heritage treasures are defined as language, customs and traditions, arts and crafts, history, the environment, and Niueans abroad. The heritage assets are the museum, archives, geneaology and the library.

In recognition of its importance, Taoga Niue is the sixth pillar of the Niue Government’s Integrated Strategic Plan. The other five pillars are Financial stability, Governance, Economic development, Social, and the Environment.

Sources include: Niue Island Country Report 13 Council of Pacific Arts 25 March 2010

Category: Culture, Fascinating Niue

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