Nukai Peniamina

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"Peniamina" redirects here. For the Samoan politician, see A'eau Peniamina.
Nukai Peniamina
Born Unknown
Died 6 March 1874
Resting place Makefu, Niue
Nationality Niuean
Known for Bringing Christianity to Niue

Nukai Peniamina was a Niuean who brought Christianity to the island of Niue in 1846.[1]


In 1830, the London Missionary Society took two local boys (Uea and Niumaga) away from the island and attempted to convert them. When they returned, they were no longer accepted and Uea was killed.[2] Soon Niumaga decided to leave for Samoa with his friend; Nukai Peniamina. There Peniamina began to work as servant for the missionary Dr. George Turner (d.1891). Nukai learned to read and write and was converted to a Christianity and was trained as a pastor in Malua Theological College in Samoa.


Peniamina returned in 1846 on the John Williams as a missionary with Fakafitifonua (a Niuean with influence in Niue). On their 5th attempt at landing at a village, the chiefs of Mutalau accepted them on 26 October 1846. Peniamina was taken to the 'Taue i Fupiu' where he is said to have been protected by 61 warriors day and night as there were many plots to kill him and Fakafitifonua.[3] Christianity was first taught to the Mutalau people before it spread to the other villages, the last of them being Hakupu.

Later life[edit]

Peniamina remained at the station at Mutalau until October 1849, when it was taken over by a Samoan. In 1850, it was found that Peniamina had an extra-marital relationship with another woman, "which although acceptable in Niuean society, was not acceptable to his missionary superiors".[4] Peniamina was banished; sent out to sea on a canoe. He settled in Samoa and died on 6 March 1874. He is buried in Makefu.


Every fourth Friday in October, Niueans celebrate 'Gospel Day' to remember Peniamina. Additionally, the Mutalau Show Day is held on the final Saturday of October to celebrate his landing in the village in 1846.


  1. ^ General information on Niue, Secretariat of the Pacific Community
  2. ^ An Interperation of Early European Contact with Niue, Sue McLachlan
  3. ^ Niue : The Island and Its People, S. Percy Smith (1983)
  4. ^