Niue is a South Pacific island nation located 2,400 kilometers northeast of New Zealand. Niue has a land area of about 261 square kilometers and a population of about 1,600 people, most of whom are Polynesian. Tonga, Samoa, and the Cook Islands form a triangle around Niue. Tonga is 604 kilometers to the northeast. The island is known as "The Rock," a nickname derived from the traditional name "Rock of Polynesia." Niue is a massive coral island in the Pacific Ocean. The island's terrain has two distinct levels. A limestone cliff runs along the coast on the higher level, with a plateau in the center of the island rising to about 60 meters above sea level. The lower level is a 0.5-kilometer-wide, 25–27-meter-high coastal terrace that slopes down and meets the sea in small cliffs. The island is surrounded by a coral reef, with the only significant break in the reef occurring near the capital, Alofi, on the central western coast. Niue is a self-governing island nation in free association with New Zealand, with New Zealand handling the majority of its diplomatic affairs. Niueans are citizens of New Zealand since they are part of the Realm of New Zealand, and Queen Elizabeth II, as Queen of New Zealand, is Niue's head of state. Between 90% and 95% of Niuean people, as well as around 70% of Niuean language speakers, live in New Zealand. Niue is a bilingual country, with 30% of the population fluent in both Niuean and English. Only 11% of people are monolingual English speakers, while 46% are monolingual Niuean speakers. Although Niue is not a member of the United Nations, its status as a freely associated state has been recognised by UN organizations as equal to freedom for the purposes of international law. As a result, Niue is a member of several UN specialized agencies and is invited to UN conferences open to "all nations" alongside the Cook Islands, the other non-UN member state. Since 1980, Niue has been a member of the Pacific Community. The island of Niue is divided into 14 villages. Each village has its own council, which elects its leader. The villages are also electoral districts, with each village sending an assemblyperson to the Niuean Parliament. Niueans hold legislative elections every three years in their small and democratic country. The Niue Integrated Strategic Plan, which was implemented in 2003, is the country's growth strategy, outlining national development goals such as financial sustainability. Niue has been a pioneer in green growth since the late twentieth century, and the European Union is assisting the country in its transition to renewable energy. Cyclone Heta struck Niue in January 2004, wreaking havoc on the island and wiping out the majority of South Alofi. Because national efforts were focused on rehabilitation, the catastrophe pushed the island's timetable for implementing the NISP out by around two years.