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ALOFI, Niue (October 3, 2001 - Niue Economic Review/PINA Nius Online)---Regarded as Niue’s biggest event yet, the island’s centenary celebrations begin in a fortnight with about 400 overseas visitors expected to join Niue’s 1,750 residents for the festivities.

They will take part in weeklong events marking 100 years of Niue’s association with New Zealand.

New Zealand’s delegation will be led by the Governor General, Dame Silvia Cartwright. Others likely to attend include the Maori Queen Dame Atairangikaahu, Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia, the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Mark Gosche, Act Party leader Richard Prebble, MPs Arthur Anae and Luamanuvao Winnie Laban and Niue’s High Commissioner to New Zealand, Hima Takelesi.

Delegations are expected from neighboring American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

A chartered Royal Tongan Airlines flight from Auckland is expected to be packed with more than 100 Niueans traveling home from New Zealand for the big event.

Birtha Head, commemoration organizing committee secretary, said Niueans had been sprucing up their homes in readiness and uniformed Boys and Girls Brigade members had been practicing marching for the flag raising ceremony.

Mrs. Head said she hoped some of the visitors would see what it was like in the homeland and return to live there.

"I believe Niue has a lot to offer in terms of a safe environment and security," said Mrs. Head, who returned to Niue in 1999 after 11 years in New Zealand.

Committee chairman Billy Talagi said: "I would like to challenge Niue’s most skilled sons and daughters who are living abroad to return and help develop Niue."

For additional reports from the Niue Economic Review, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Magazines/Journals/Niue Economic Review.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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