Th e size of the village lands was estimated by ((1) delineating on air photographs the farthest margins of Mutalau cultivations, (2) drawing a line between these margins which is effectively the

In document Aid in an island microstate : the case of Niue (Page 137-141)

village ’b oun dary’ at that particular time, and theen (3) covering the delineated area with unit squares to provide a reasonably accurate measure of area.

160* 50W 19*00 S - TUAPA Village Lalomallll Locality 1 C o c o n u t C re am F acto ry 2 Aloft P ort 3 G o v ern m en t office* 4 N iue High School 5 NOB P ro c e ssin g facto ry

6 Airport

M utalau district

K ofekofe - j S ch o o l 36 -*l + I C om i xpy ---1— 0< r • F o rm e r M u talau D e v e lo p m e n t Block N o 1 M ain ro ad F o o t tra c k O c c u p ied h o u s e -h o u s e h o ld n u m b e r U n o c c u p ied h o u s e /b u ild in g S to re Q H j W C h u rc h building—d e n o m in a tio n

F e tu n a which V ilitam a (1982:93) lists as one of four principal settlem ents (kolo) on Niue in pre-missionary times (Figure 6.3). Confronted with the difficulties of proselytising a dispersed bush population, the missionaries persuaded the majority of Fe tu n a people to relocate to M u ta la u before 1853. Other F e tu n a people moved to Toi which until 1956 was p a rt of the M u ta la u com m unity, and to T a o a la g a u ta which was subsequently relocated to Lakepa in 1886. At the centre of the new M utalau village was a church, a village green and a p a s to r ’s house. The people built their houses in orderly fashion on either side of the new road which was constructed under the guidance of the missionaries. This p a tte rn of settlem ent remains unchanged to this day (Figure 6.2).

169°50W kilom etres MUTALAU • (1853-present) TOI (1853-present) FETUNA / (7-1853) • LAKEPA (1886-present) • TAOALAGAUTA (1853- 1886) —19°00 S

All or m ost of po p u latio n moved Some of p o pulation moved

F ig u r e 6-3: Village shifts, 1846-1983.

Geographically, and in term s of infrastructure projects, M utalau could be term ed an r ideal e n v iro n m e n t' for economic development. Most of its extensive agricultural

land is flat, fertile, relatively free of coral outcrops and thus highly suitable for commercial a griculture, especially passionfruit and lime growing (T ustin, 1981; Money, 1982). F u rth e rm o re , because of M u ta l a u ’s population size, it is usually among the first to be included in government-sponsored projects: the construction of a government


school in 1939, the building of a health clinic in 1958, the introduction of discing and NPK fertiliser trials in the early 1960s, the setting up of coconut developm ent blocks in the late 1960s, and the organisation of coconut tree trials in the 1970s.

Partly because of the infrastructure projects, M utalau has gained a reputation as a ” progressive” and ” innovative” village. For example, one consequence of the early schooling was t h a t M u talau an s achieved prominence in government employment and commerce. One of only two Niuean-owned m ajor retail outlets in Alofi is Mutalau owned and operated , while one of three commercial bakeries in Niue is situated in M utalau; the o th er two are in Alofi.

M utalau villagers have also gained a rep utatio n for liberal thinking, especially in accepting new religious faiths. The people have the proud distinction of being the first Niueans to accept C h ristianity, and in 1853, the first to build a church. They were also the first Niueans to accept the Roman Catholic church (T herriault, 1966) and have subsequently accepted Seventh Day A dventists (SDA) and M ormons (LDS). They also have the island’s only active Je h o v a h ’s W itness congregation.

It is paradoxical t h a t this ” ideal e nv iro nm en t” has the longest record of outm igration in Niue. The village population has fallen a t each successive census since 1956 and the village’s share of the national population fell from 12.7 per cent in 1956 to 8.1 per cent in 1984 (Table 6.1). The intercensal d a ta suggests t h a t most of the depopulation occurred between 1971 and 1979, and this is confirmed by Niue Police D eparture and Arrival records (Figure 6.4).

6.1.2 V illa g e p r o file

As m entioned in C h apter 1, M utalau was selected as the principal study village because I had a Cook Island born cousin who was the wife of a Niuean resident in M u talau. This m ade moving into the village much easier. But M u talau also has a long history of receiving government aid and su p p o rt for social and economic development. The village includes sizable percentages of governm ent and p rivate sector paid employees, and pensioners. F urtherm o re, M utalau remains Niue’s leading village producer of cash crops accounting for 18 per cent of the island’s total cash crop production for export in 1982.

3. Th is was only N iu e ’s third governm ent school after Alofi in 1910 and Hakupu in 1920. The

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