Following a plea from British missionaries and island leaders, the island became a British Protectorate at the turn of the 20th century. Shortly thereafter, in an agreement with the British government, New Zealand took over responsibility for Niue in 1901. The island remained a territory of New Zealand until October 1974 when it adopted self-rule, but continues to retain New Zealand citizenship, a contributing factor in the large presence of Niueans in Auckland.
Niue’s system of government is based on the Westminster system. The Niue Assembly consists of 20 members, 14 of whom are elected by village constituencies and 6 from the common roll. The 20 members elect a Premier and the Premier selects three cabinet ministers from the 19. Members elect a Speaker from outside their ranks. A general election is held every three years.