New Zealand: Truth Knowledge And History Of This Island Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

New Zealand

Introduction The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about A.D. 800. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact with Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. In that same year, the British began the first organized colonial settlement. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both World Wars. New Zealand’s full participation in a number of defense alliances lapsed by the 1980s. In recent years, the government has sought to address longstanding Maori grievances.
History New Zealand is one of the most recently settled major land masses. The first settlers of New Zealand were Eastern Polynesians who came to New Zealand, probably in a series of migrations, sometime between around AD 800 and 1300.[4] Over the next few centuries these settlers developed into a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into Iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) which would co-operate, compete and sometimes fight with each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to the Chatham Islands where they developed their own distinct Moriori culture.

The first Europeans known to have reached New Zealand were Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman and his crew in 1642.[10] Several of the crew were killed by Māori and no Europeans returned to New Zealand until British explorer James Cook’s voyage of 1768–71.[10] Cook reached New Zealand in 1769 and mapped almost all of the coastline. Following Cook, New Zealand was visited by numerous European and North American whaling, sealing and trading ships. They traded European food and goods, especially metal tools and weapons, for Māori timber, food, artefacts and water. On occasion, Europeans traded goods for sex.[11] Māori agriculture and warfare were transformed by the potato and the musket, although the resulting Musket Wars died out once the tribal imbalance of arms had been rectified. From the early nineteenth century, Christian missionaries began to settle New Zealand, eventually converting most of the Māori population, who had become disillusioned with their indigenous faith by the introduction of Western culture.

Becoming aware of the lawless nature of European settlement and increasing interest in the territory by the French, the British government sent William Hobson to New Zealand to claim sovereignty and negotiate a treaty with Māori.[i] The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840. The drafting was done hastily and confusion and disagreement continues to surround the translation. The Treaty is regarded as New Zealand’s foundation as a nation and is revered by Māori as a guarantee of their rights. Hobson initially selected Okiato as the capital in 1840, before moving the seat of government to Auckland in 1841.

Under British rule, the islands of New Zealand had been part of the colony of New South Wales. In 1840 New Zealand became its own dominion, which signalled increasing numbers of European settlers particularly from the British Isles. At first, Māori were eager to trade with the ‘Pakeha’, as they called them, and many iwi (tribes) became wealthy. As settler numbers increased, conflicts over land led to the New Zealand Land Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, resulting in the loss of much Māori land. The detail of European settlement and the acquisition of land from Māori remain controversial.

Representative government for the colony was provided for by the passing of the 1852 New Zealand Constitution Act by the United Kingdom. The 1st New Zealand Parliament met for the first time in 1854. In 1856 the colony became effectively self-governing with the grant of responsible government over all domestic matters other than native policy. Power in this respect would be transferred to the colonial administration in the 1860s. In 1863 Premier Alfred Domett moved a resolution that the capital transfer to a locality in Cook Strait, apparently due to concern the South Island could form a separate colony. Commissioners from Australia (chosen for their neutral status) advised Wellington as suitable because of its harbour and central location, and parliament officially sat there for the first time in 1865. In 1893, the country became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote. In 1907, New Zealand became an independent Dominion and a fully independent nation in 1947 when the Statute of Westminster (1931) was ratified, although in practice Britain had ceased to play any real role in the government of New Zealand much earlier than this. As New Zealand became more politically independent it became more dependent economically; in the 1890s, refrigerated shipping allowed New Zealand to base its entire economy on the export of meat and dairy products to Britain.

New Zealand was an enthusiastic member of the British Empire, fighting in the Boer War, World War I and World War II and supporting Britain in the Suez Crisis. The country was very much a part of the world economy and suffered as others did in the Great Depression of the 1930s. The depression led to the election of the first Labour government, which established a comprehensive welfare state and a protectionist economy.

New Zealand experienced increasing prosperity following World War II. However, some social problems were developing; Māori had begun to move to the cities in search of work and excitement rather than the traditional rural way of life. A Māori protest movement would eventually form, criticising Eurocentrism and seeking more recognition of Māori culture and the Treaty of Waitangi, which they felt had not been fully honoured. In 1975 a Waitangi Tribunal was set up to investigate alleged breaches of the Treaty and in 1985 it was enabled to investigate historic grievances. In common with all other developed countries, social developments accelerated in the 1970s and social and political mores changed. By the 1970s, the traditional trade with Britain was threatened because of Britain’s membership of the European Economic Community. Great economic and social changes took place in the 1980s under the 4th Labour government largely led by Finance Minister Roger Douglas, and commonly referred to as “Rogernomics.”

Geography Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia
Geographic coordinates: 41 00 S, 174 00 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 268,680 sq km
land: 268,021 sq km
water: NA
note: includes Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands
Area – comparative: about the size of Colorado
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 15,134 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: temperate with sharp regional contrasts
Terrain: predominately mountainous with some large coastal plains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Aoraki-Mount Cook 3,754 m
Natural resources: natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal, timber, hydropower, gold, limestone
Land use: arable land: 5.54%
permanent crops: 6.92%
other: 87.54% (2005)
Irrigated land: 2,850 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 397 cu km (1995)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 2.11 cu km/yr (48%/9%/42%)
per capita: 524 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: earthquakes are common, though usually not severe; volcanic activity
Environment – current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; native flora and fauna hard-hit by invasive species
Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic Seals, Marine Life Conservation
Geography – note: about 80% of the population lives in cities; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world
Politics Government

New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. Although it has no codified constitution, the Constitution Act 1986 is the principal formal statement of New Zealand’s constitutional structure. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state and is titled Queen of New Zealand under the Royal Titles Act 1974. She is represented by the Governor-General, who she appoints on the exclusive advice of the Prime Minister. The current Governor-General is Anand Satyanand.

The Governor-General exercises the Crown’s prerogative powers, such as the power to appoint and dismiss ministers and to dissolve Parliament, and in rare situations, the reserve powers. The Governor-General also chairs the Executive Council, which is a formal committee consisting of all ministers of the Crown. Members of the Executive Council are required to be Members of Parliament, and most are also in Cabinet. Cabinet is the most senior policy-making body and is led by the Prime Minister, who is also, by convention, the Parliamentary leader of the governing party or coalition. The current Prime Minister is Helen Clark, the leader of the Labour Party.

The New Zealand Parliament has only one chamber, the House of Representatives, which usually seats 120 Members of Parliament. Parliamentary general elections are held every three years under a form of proportional representation called Mixed Member Proportional. The 2005 General Election created an ‘overhang’ of one extra seat, occupied by the Māori Party, due to that party winning more seats in electorates than the number of seats its proportion of the party vote would have given it.

Since 17 October 2005, Labour has been in formal coalition with Jim Anderton, the Progressive Party’s only MP. In addition to the parties in formal coalition, New Zealand First and United Future provide confidence and supply in return for their leaders being ministers outside cabinet. A further arrangement has been made with the Green Party, which has given a commitment not to vote against the government on confidence and supply. Since early 2007, Labour has also had the proxy vote of Taito Phillip Field, a former Labour MP. These arrangements assure the government of a majority of seven MPs on confidence votes.

The Leader of the Opposition is National Party leader John Key. The ACT party and the Māori Party are also in opposition. The Greens, New Zealand First and United Future each vote against the government on some legislation.

The highest court in New Zealand is the Supreme Court of New Zealand, which was established in 2004 following the passage of the Supreme Court Act 2003. The act also abolished the option to appeal to the Privy Council in London. The current Chief Justice is Dame Sian Elias. New Zealand’s judiciary also includes the Court of Appeal; the High Court, which deals with serious criminal offences and civil matters at the trial level and with appeals from lower courts and tribunals; and subordinate courts.

New Zealand is the only country in the world in which all the highest offices in the land have been occupied simultaneously by women: Queen Elizabeth II, Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, Prime Minister Helen Clark, Speaker of the House of Representatives Margaret Wilson and Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias were all in office between March 2005 and August 2006 (also of note New Zealand’s largest listed company: Telecom New Zealand had a woman – Theresa Gattung as its CEO at the time).

People Population: 4,173,460 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.9% (male 446,883/female 424,240)
15-64 years: 66.5% (male 1,390,669/female 1,385,686)
65 years and over: 12.6% (male 238,560/female 287,422) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 36.3 years
male: 35.6 years
female: 37.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.971% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 14.09 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 7 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 2.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 4.99 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.62 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 80.24 years
male: 78.33 years
female: 82.25 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.11 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Pitcairn Islands: The Truth Knowledge And The Fantastic History Of These Islands

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Pitcairn Islands

Introduction Pitcairn Island was discovered in 1767 by the British and settled in 1790 by the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions. Pitcairn was the first Pacific island to become a British colony (in 1838) and today remains the last vestige of that empire in the South Pacific. out-migration, primarily to New Zealand, has thinned the population from a peak of 233 in 1937 to less than 50 today.
History The original settlers of the Pitcairn Islands (Ducie, Henderson, Oeno, and Pitcairn) were Polynesians who appear to have lived on Pitcairn and Henderson for several centuries. However, although archaeologists believe that Polynesians were living on Pitcairn as late as the 15th century, the islands were uninhabited when they were discovered by Europeans.[2]

Ducie and Henderson Islands are believed to have been discovered by Europeans on 26 January 1606 by Portuguese sailor Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, sailing for the Spanish crown, who named them La Encarnación (“Incarnation”) and San Juan Bautista (“Saint John the Baptist”), respectively. However, some sources express doubt about exactly which of the islands were visited and named by Queirós, suggesting that Queirós’ La Encarnación may actually have been Henderson Island, and San Juan Bautista may have been Pitcairn Island.[3]

Ducie Island was rediscovered in 1791 by the British Capt. Edwards aboard HMS Pandora and named after Francis, Lord Ducie, a captain in the Royal Navy. It was annexed by Britain on 19 December 1902, and in 1938 it was formally incorporated into Pitcairn to become part of a single administrative unit (the “Pitcairn Group of Islands”).

Henderson Island was rediscovered on 17 January 1819 by a British Captain Henderson of the British East India Company ship Hercules. On 2 March 1819, Captain Henry King, sailing aboard the Elizabeth, landed on the island to find the king’s colours already flying. His crew scratched the name of their ship into a tree, and for some years the island’s name was Elizabeth or Henderson, interchangeably. Henderson Island was annexed by Britain and incorporated into Pitcairn in 1938.

Oeno Island was discovered on 26 January 1824 by U.S. Captain George Worth aboard the whaler Oeno. On 10 July 1902, Oeno was annexed by Britain. It was incorporated into Pitcairn in 1938.

Pitcairn Island itself was discovered on July 3, 1767 by the crew of the British sloop HMS Swallow, commanded by Captain Philip Carteret (though according to some it had perhaps been visited by Queirós in 1606). It was named after Midshipman Robert Pitcairn, a fifteen-year-old crewmember who was the first to sight the island. Robert Pitcairn was the son of British Marine Officer John Pitcairn.

Carteret who sailed without the newly invented accurate marine chronometer, charted the island at 25° 2′ south 133° 21’ west of Greenwich and although the latitude was reasonably accurate the longitude was incorrect by about 3° (during the age of sail about two-day voyage under fair conditions). This made Pitcairn difficult to find, as highlighted by the failure of Captain James Cook to locate the island in July 1773.

In 1790, the mutineers of the Bounty and their Tahitian companions, some of whom may have been kidnapped from Tahiti, settled on Pitcairn Island and set fire to the Bounty. The wreck is still visible underwater in Bounty Bay. The ship itself was discovered in 1957 by National Geographic explorer Luis Marden. Although the settlers were able to survive by farming and fishing, the initial period of settlement was marked by serious tensions among the settlers. Alcoholism, murder, disease and other ills took the lives of most mutineers and Tahitian men. John Adams and Ned Young turned to the Scriptures using the ship’s Bible as their guide for a new and peaceful society. Young eventually died of an asthmatic infection. The Pitcairners also converted to Christianity; later they would convert from their existing form of Christianity to Adventism after a successful Adventist mission in the 1890s. After the rediscovery of Pitcairn John Adams was granted amnesty for his mutiny.

The islanders reported that it was not until 27 December 1795 that the first ship since the Bounty was seen from the island, but as she did not approach the land, they could not make out to what nation she belonged. A second appeared some time in 1801, but did not attempt to communicate with them. A third came sufficiently near to see their habitations, but did not venture to send a boat on shore. The American trading ship Topaz under the command of Mayhew Folger was the first to visit the island and communicate with them when they spent 10 hours at Pitcairn in February 1808. A report of Folger’s find was forwarded to The Admiralty mentioning the mutineers and a more precise location of the island—latitude 25° 2′ S and 130° longitude/,—however this rediscovery was not known to Sir Thomas Staines who commanded a Royal Navy flotilla of two ships (HMS Briton and HMS Tagus) which found the island at 25°.4′ S. (by meridian observation) on 17 September 1814. Staines sent a party ashore and wrote a detailed report for the Admiralty.

The island became a British colony in 1838 and was among the first territories to extend voting rights to women. By the mid-1850’s the Pitcairn community was outgrowing the island and its leaders appealed to the British government for assistance. They were offered Norfolk Island and on 3 May 1856, the entire community of 193 people set sail for Norfolk on board the Morayshire, arriving on 8 June after a miserable five-week trip. But after eighteen months on Norfolk, seventeen of the Pitcairners returned to their home island; five years later another twenty-seven did the same.

Since a population peak of 233 in 1937, the island has been suffering from emigration, primarily to New Zealand, leaving some fifty people living on Pitcairn.

There are allegations of a long history and tradition of sexual abuse of girls as young as 7, which culminated in 2004 in the charging of seven men living on Pitcairn, and another six now living abroad, with sex-related offences, including rape. On October 25, 2004, six men were convicted, including Steve Christian, the island’s mayor at the time. See Pitcairn rape trial of 2004. After the six men lost their final appeal, the British government set up a prison on the island with an annual budget of NZD 950,000. The men began serving their sentences in late 2006, and all are expected to be freed by December of 2008.

Geography Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about midway between Peru and New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 25 04 S, 130 06 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 47 sq km
land: 47 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: about 0.3 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 51 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot and humid; modified by southeast trade winds; rainy season (November to March)
Terrain: rugged volcanic formation; rocky coastline with cliffs
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pawala Valley Ridge 347 m
Natural resources: miro trees (used for handicrafts), fish
note: manganese, iron, copper, gold, silver, and zinc have been discovered offshore
Land use: arable land: NA
permanent crops: NA
other: NA
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons (especially November to March)
Environment – current issues: deforestation (only a small portion of the original forest remains because of burning and clearing for settlement)
Geography – note: Britain’s most isolated dependency; only the larger island of Pitcairn is inhabited but it has no port or natural harbor; supplies must be transported by rowed longboat from larger ships stationed offshore
Politics The Queen is represented by the Governor of the Pitcairn Islands, who is the British High Commissioner to New Zealand, currently George Fergusson. The Governor’s Representative is the liaison person between the governor and the Island Council – this is probably the most remote and inaccessible diplomatic posting in the world. The non-resident Commissioner, appointed by the Governor, is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the island as well as for its economic regeneration. But because the high commissioner does not live on the island, its daily affairs are taken care of by the mayor of Pitcairn from 1999 on wards. Island Magistrate is a governor appointed job. Chairman of the Internal Committee is an elected official. Until 30 October 2004, the mayor was Steve Christian; after his rape conviction on October 24, 2004, Christian was dismissed (after refusing to resign). Brenda Christian was selected by the Island Council, to be mayor for November and December 2004, until an election was held. Jay Warren was elected on December 15, 2004. The island Mayor is elected by popular vote for a three-year term.

Legislative branch

The Pitcairn Islands have a unicameral Island Council (10 seats – The Mayor and the Chairman of the Island Council both hold membership ex officio; 4 elected by popular vote, 1 co-opted by the Chairman and the 4 other elected members; 2 appointed by the Governor including the Island Secretary (ex officio); the tenth seat is reserved for a Commissioner (non-resident) who liaises between the Council and the Governor. Except for the Mayor, who has a three-year term, and the Island Secretary, whose term is indefinite, members serve one-year terms.

People Population: 48 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
Population growth rate: 0% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: NA (2008 est.)
Death rate: NA (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: NA
Infant mortality rate: total: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: NA (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Pitcairn Islander(s)
adjective: Pitcairn Islander
Ethnic groups: descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives
Religions: Seventh-Day Adventist 100%
Languages: English (official), Pitkern (mixture of an 18th century English dialect and a Tahitian dialect)
Literacy: NA

Tuvalu: The Truth Knowledge And History Of This Island Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Tuvalu

Introduction In 1974, ethnic differences within the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands. The following year, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978. In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet domain name “.tv” for $50 million in royalties over a 12-year period.
History Tuvaluans are a Polynesian people who settled the islands around 3000 years ago coming from Tonga and Samoa. During pre-European-contact times there was frequent canoe voyaging between the nearer islands. Eight of the 9 islands of Tuvalu were inhabited; thus the name, Tuvalu, means “eight standing together” in Tuvaluan. Possible evidence of fire in the Caves of Nanumanga may indicate human occupation thousands of years before that.

Tuvalu was first sighted by Europeans in 1568 with the arrival of Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira from Spain who also encountered the island of Nui (atoll) but was unable to land.

No other Europeans turned up again until the late 1700s when other European explorers reached the area. By the early 1800s whalers were roving the Pacific though visiting Tuvalu only infrequently, because of the difficulties of landing ships on the atolls, and no settlements were established by them.

Peruvian slave raiders (“blackbirders”) combed the Pacific between 1862 and 1864 and Tuvalu was one of the hardest-hit Pacific island groups with over 400 people taken from Funafuti and Nukulaelae, none of whom returned.

In 1865 the London Missionary Society, Protestant congregationalists, began their process of evangelisation of Tuvalu and the people’s conversion to Christianity was complete by the 1920s. Also in the late 1800s, European traders began to live on the islands hoping to profit from local resources.

In 1892 the islands became part of the British protectorate known as the Ellice Islands. The protectorate was incorporated into the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony in 1916. In 1943, during World War II, Tuvalu was selected as an operations base for Allied forces battling the Japanese in the Pacific. Thousands of marines were stationed there until December 1945.

In 1974 ethnic differences within the colony caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands (to become Kiribati). The following year the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978.

Tuvalu Independence Day is celebrated on 1 October. In 1979 Tuvalu signed a treaty of friendship with the United States that recognized Tuvalu’s rightful possession of four small islands formerly claimed by the United States.

As low-lying islands, lacking a surrounding shallow shelf, the island communities of Tuvalu are especially susceptible to changes in sea level and storm patterns that hit the island undissipated. It is estimated that a sea level rise of 20–40 centimetres (8–16 inches) in the next 100 years could make Tuvalu uninhabitable. The South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) suggests that while Tuvalu is vulnerable to climate change there are additional environmental problems such as population growth and poor coastal management that are affecting sustainable development on the island. SOPAC ranks the country as extremely vulnerable using the Environmental Vulnerability Index. While some commentators have called for the relocation of the population of Tuvalu to Australia, New Zealand, or Kioa (Fiji), the former Prime Minister Maatia Toafa said his government did not regard rising sea levels as such a threat that the entire population would need to be evacuated. In spite of persistent Internet rumours that New Zealand has agreed to accept an annual quota of 75 evacuees, the annual residence quota of 75 Tuvaluans under the Pacific Access Category (and 50 places for people from Kiribati) replaced the previous Work Schemes from the two countries and are not related to environmental concerns.

Geography Location: Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 S, 178 00 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 26 sq km
land: 26 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 24 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)
Terrain: very low-lying and narrow coral atolls
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m
Natural resources: fish
Land use: arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 66.67%
other: 33.33% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: severe tropical storms are usually rare, but, in 1997, there were three cyclones; low level of islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level
Environment – current issues: since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, most water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage facilities (the Japanese Government has built one desalination plant and plans to build one other); beachhead erosion because of the use of sand for building materials; excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel; damage to coral reefs from the spread of the Crown of Thorns starfish; Tuvalu is concerned about global increases in greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on rising sea levels, which threaten the country’s underground water table; in 2000, the government appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels should make evacuation necessary
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: one of the smallest and most remote countries on Earth; six of the nine coral atolls – Nanumea, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti, and Nukulaelae – have lagoons open to the ocean; Nanumaya and Niutao have landlocked lagoons; Niulakita does not have a lagoon
Politics Tuvalu is a constitutional monarchy and Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II recognised as the official Queen of Tuvalu. She is represented in Tuvalu by a Governor General, who is appointed upon the advice of the Prime Minister. The local unicameral parliament, or Fale I Fono, has 15 members and is elected every four years. Its members elect a Prime Minister who is the head of government. The Cabinet is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister. Each island also has its own high-chief or ulu-aliki, and several sub-chiefs (alikis) and elders. The elders form together an island council of elders or te sina o fenua (literally:”grey-hairs”). In the past, another caste, namely the one of the priests (tofuga) was also amongst the decision-makers. The sina o fenua, aliki and ulu-aliki exercise informal authority on a local level. Ulu-aliki are always chosen based on hericy, and their powers are now shared with the pule o kaupule (elected village presidents; one on each atol). There are no formal political parties and election campaigns are largely on the basis of personal/family ties and reputation.

The highest court in Tuvalu is the High Court; there are eight Island Courts with limited jurisdiction. Rulings from the High Court can be appealed to the Court of Appeal in Fiji.

Tuvalu has no regular military forces, and spends no money on the military. Its police force includes a Maritime Surveillance Unit for search and rescue missions and surveillance operations. The police have a Pacific-class patrol boat (Te Mataili) provided by Australia under the Pacific Patrol Boat Program for use in maritime surveillance and fishery patrol.

The government of Tuvalu is represented in the United Kingdom by an honorary consul, based at Tuvalu House, London.

People Population: 12,177 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 29.4% (male 1,826/female 1,754)
15-64 years: 65.4% (male 3,891/female 4,073)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 236/female 397) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 25.2 years
male: 24.2 years
female: 26.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.577% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 22.75 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.98 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.59 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 18.97 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 68.97 years
male: 66.7 years
female: 71.36 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.94 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Tuvaluan(s)
adjective: Tuvaluan
Ethnic groups: Polynesian 96%, Micronesian 4%
Religions: Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%, Baha’i 1%, other 0.6%
Languages: Tuvaluan, English, Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)
Literacy: NA
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2001)
Education expenditures: NA
Government Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Tuvalu
local long form: none
local short form: Tuvalu
former: Ellice Islands
note: “Tuvalu” means “group of eight,” referring to the country’s eight traditionally inhabited islands
Government type: constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Funafuti
geographic coordinates: 8 30 S, 179 12 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: administrative offices are located in Vaiaku Village on Fongafale Islet
Administrative divisions: none
Independence: 1 October 1978 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 1 October (1978)
Constitution: 1 October 1978
Legal system: NA
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Filoimea TELITO (since 15 April 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Apisai IELEMIA (since 14 August 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by and from the members of Parliament; election last held 14 August 2006 (next to be held following parliamentary elections in 2010)
election results: Apisai IELEMIA elected Prime Minister in a Parliamentary election on 14 August 2006
Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Fale I Fono, also called House of Assembly (15 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 3 August 2006 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote – NA; seats – independents 15
Judicial branch: High Court (a chief justice visits twice a year to preside over its sessions; its rulings can be appealed to the Court of Appeal in Fiji); eight Island Courts (with limited jurisdiction)
Political parties and leaders: there are no political parties but members of Parliament usually align themselves in informal groupings
Political pressure groups and leaders: none
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, C, FAO, IFRCS (observer), IMO, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO
Diplomatic representation in the US: Tuvalu does not have an embassy in the US – the country’s only diplomatic post is in Fiji – Tuvalu does, however, have a UN office located at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017, telephone: [1] (212) 490-0534
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Tuvalu; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tuvalu
Flag description: light blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant; the outer half of the flag represents a map of the country with nine yellow five-pointed stars symbolizing the nine islands
Culture Heritage

The traditional community system still survives to a large extent on Tuvalu. Each family has its own task, or salanga, to perform for the community, such as fishing, house building or defence. The skills of a family are passed on from father to son.

Most islands have their own futi, or government owned shops. Similar to a convenience store, you can buy canned foods and bags of rice, but goods are cheaper and fusis give better prices for their own goods due to government subsidy.

Another important building is the falekaupule or village hall, where important matters are discussed and which is used with certain events.

Cuisine

The traditional foods eaten in Tuvalu are pulaka, seafood (crab, turtle, some fish), bananas and breadfruit, coconut, and pork. Pulaka is the main source for carbohydrates. It is grown in large pits below the watertable in composted soil. Seafood is the main source of protein. Bananas and breadfruit are supplemental crops. Finally, coconut is used for its juice, making beverages and to make food tastier. Pork is eaten most with fateles (or parties with dance to celebrate certain events)

Sport and Leisure

A traditional sport played in Tuvalu is kilikiti, which is similar to cricket. Another sport popular and specific to Tuvalu is ano, which is played with 2 round balls of 12cm diameter.

More common sports such as football, cycling and rugby are also played in the country as recreational activities. Tuvalu has a national football team and competes officially with local nations, despite not being a FIFA member. However, there are no records of a rugby team, in either code, and rugby remains undeveloped in the country, although it is hoped that exposure to the NRL Grand Final, which is televised across the Pacific Islands will increase the popularity of rugby league enough to create a viable and competitive team. There are no training facilities for any sport in the country.

Tuvalu entered the Olympic Games for the first time at the 2008 summer games in Beijing, China, sending three competitors in two events.

Music

Traditional music prior to European contact included poems performed in a sort of monotonal recitation, though this tradition has since become extinct, as well as work songs which the women performed to encourage the men while they worked.

The most famous form of Tuvaluan dance music, fatele, is influenced by European melody and harmony and is competitive, with each island divided into two sides or teams (called feitu’s). Feitus exist not only with the dancing at fatele’s (which is conducted much like a competition), but for other activities as well.

The two primary traditional dances of Tuvalu are the fakanu and fakaseasea. Of these, the fakanu has since died out, though the fakaseasea lives on, performed only by elders.

Economy Economy – overview: Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. The country has no known mineral resources and few exports and is almost entirely dependent upon imported food and fuel. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. Fewer than 1,000 tourists, on average, visit Tuvalu annually. Job opportunities are scarce and public sector workers make up the majority of those employed. About 15% of the adult male population work as seamen on merchant ships abroad and remittances are a vital source of income, contributing around $4 million in 2006. Substantial income is received annually from the Tuvalu Trust Fund (TTF), an international trust fund established in 1987 by Australia, NZ, and the UK and supported also by Japan and South Korea. Thanks to wise investments and conservative withdrawals, this fund grew from an initial $17 million to an estimated value of $77 million in 2006. The TFF contributed nearly $9 million towards the government budget in 2006 and is an important cushion for meeting shortfalls in the government’s budget. The US Government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu because of payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries. In an effort to ensure financial stability and sustainability, the government is pursuing public sector reforms, including privatization of some government functions and personnel cuts. Tuvalu also derives royalties from the lease of its “.tv” Internet domain name, with revenue of more than $2 million in 2006. A minor source of government revenue comes from the sale of stamps and coins. With merchandise exports only a fraction of merchandise imports, continued reliance must be placed on fishing and telecommunications license fees, remittances from overseas workers, official transfers, and income from overseas investments. Growing income disparities and the vulnerability of the country to climatic change are among leading concerns for the nation.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $14.94 million (2002 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $14.94 million (2002)
GDP – real growth rate: 3% (2006 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $1,600 (2002 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 16.6%
industry: 27.2%
services: 56.2% (2002)
Labor force: 3,615 (2004 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: note: people make a living mainly through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls and from wages sent home by those abroad (mostly workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $21.54 million
expenditures: $23.05 million (2006)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.8% (2006 est.)
Agriculture – products: coconuts; fish
Industries: fishing, tourism, copra
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: NA
hydro: NA
nuclear: NA
other: NA
Current account balance: -$11.68 million (2003)
Exports: $1 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports – commodities: copra, fish
Imports: $12.91 million c.i.f. (2005)
Imports – commodities: food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
Economic aid – recipient: $10.49 million
note: includes distributions from the Tuvalu Trust Fund (2006)
Debt – external: $NA
Currency (code): Australian dollar (AUD); note – there is also a Tuvaluan dollar
Currency code: AUD
Exchange rates: Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars (AUD) per U 1.2059 (2008 est.), 1.2137 (2007), 1.3285 (2006), 1.3095 (2005), 1.3598 (2004)
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 900 (2005)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 1,300 (2005)
Telephone system: general assessment: serves particular needs for internal communications
domestic: radiotelephone communications between islands
international: country code – 688; international calls can be made by satellite
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (2004)
Radios: 4,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 0 (2004)
Televisions: 800
Internet country code: .tv
Internet hosts: 56,209 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 1,300 (2002)
Transportation Airports: 1 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways: total: 8 km
paved: 8 km (2002)
Merchant marine: total: 80
by type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 30, chemical tanker 14, container 2, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 22, refrigerated cargo 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 63 (China 16, Hong Kong 7, Kenya 1, South Korea 1, Malaysia 1, Maldives 1, Norway 1, Russia 2, Singapore 23, Thailand 1, Turkey 2, Ukraine 1, US 1, Vietnam 5) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Funafuti
Military Military branches: no regular military forces; Tuvalu Police Force (2008)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 128
female: 125 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: NA
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: none