Unlike many Polynesian societies, Niue lacks hereditary rulers.
Elders are normally obeyed and respected, and special accord is given to males and those who are first-borns. But Niue has a culture that values individual achievement, social mobility and those with a strong work ethic.
Before the arrival of the Europeans in 1774, Niue was governed by non-hereditary, elected kings. The tradition ended in 1900 when King Togia was pressured by the missionaries to seek the formal protection of England against other colonial nations, particularly the French and the Americans.