Although most Niueans are active Christians, many still believe – to varying degrees – in a supernatural world inhabited by aitu, spirits of dead ancestors or ghosts.
Any location at which an unexpected or violent death occurs will have a fono or prohibition placed on it, distancing the living from the revenge of ancestral spirits. Until the appropriate time for a pastor to lift this tapu, people will not visit or will behave there in a very circumspect fashion.
Although there is a hospital in Alofi (pictured) and everyone has access to free western medicine, herbalists and taulaatua (traditional healers) are also patronised by locals. Taulaatua use specially prepared herbal preparations to treat the sick.