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Tokelau (; "north-northeast"; known previously as the Union Islands, and, until 1976, known officially as the Tokelau Islands) is a
dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, ...
of
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
in the southern Pacific Ocean. It consists of three tropical coral
atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef, including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely. There may be coral islands or cays on the rim. Two different, well-cited models, the subsiden ...

atoll
s:
Atafu Atafu, formerly known as the Duke of York Group, is a group of 52 coral islet An islet is a very small island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as w ...

Atafu
,
Nukunonu Nukunonu is the largest atoll within Tokelau, a dependency of New Zealand, in the south Pacific Ocean. It comprises 30 islets surrounding a central lagoon, with about of land area and a lagoon surface area of . Motuhaga is the only islet that h ...

Nukunonu
, and
Fakaofo Fakaofo, formerly known as ''Bowditch Island'', is a Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean atoll located in the Tokelau Group. The actual land area is only about 3 km2 (1.1 sq mi), consisting of islets on a coral reef surrounding a central lagoon ...
. They have a combined land area of . The capital rotates yearly among the three atolls. In addition to these three,
Swains Island Swains Island (; Tokelauan: ''Olohega'' ; Samoan Samoan may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean ** Something of, from, or related to Samoa, a country encompassing the west ...

Swains Island
, which forms part of the same archipelago, is the subject of an ongoing territorial dispute; it is currently administered by the United States as part of
American Samoa #REDIRECT American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) ...

American Samoa
. Tokelau lies north of the
Samoan Islands The Samoan Islands are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a ...

Samoan Islands
, east of
Tuvalu Tuvalu ( or ; formerly known as the Ellice Islands Tuvalu ( ; formerly known as the Ellice Islands) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial ...

Tuvalu
, south of the
Phoenix Islands The Phoenix Islands, or Rawaki, are a group of eight atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reef ...

Phoenix Islands
, southwest of the more distant
Line Islands The Line Islands, Teraina Islands or Equatorial Islands (in Gilbertese language, Gilbertese, ''Aono Raina'') are a chain of 11 atolls (with partially or fully enclosed lagoons) and coral islands (with a surrounding reef) in the central Pacific ...
, and northwest of the
Cook Islands ) , image_map = Cook Islands on the globe (small islands magnified) (Polynesia centered).svg , capital = Avarua , coordinates = , largest_city = Avarua , official_languages = , languages_type = Spoken languages , languages = , ethn ...
. Tokelau has a population of approximately 1,500 people; it has the
fourth-smallest population
of any sovereign state or dependency in the world. As of the 2016 census, around 45% of its residents had been born overseas, mostly in Samoa or New Zealand.https://www.tokelau.org.nz/site/tokelau/files/TokelauNSO/2016Census/profile-tokelau-2016-census-final-to-print28jun17jj.pdf The populace has a
life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and other demographic Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancien ...

life expectancy
of 69, which is comparable to that of other
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
n island nations. Approximately 94% of the population speak Tokelauan as their first language. Tokelau has the smallest economy of any sovereign nation, although it is a leader in
renewable energy Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resource File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global vegetation A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural resource which will replenish to replace the portion resou ...
, being the first 100%
solar power Solar power is the conversion of renewable energy Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resource File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global vegetation A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural re ...

solar power
ed nation in the world. Tokelau is officially referred to as a ''
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
'' by both the New Zealand government and the Tokelauan government. It is a free and democratic nation with elections every three years. However, in 2007, the
United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations System consists of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) ...
included Tokelau on its list of non-self-governing territories. Its inclusion on this list is controversial, as Tokelauans have twice narrowly voted against further
self-determination The right of a people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an ...
, and the islands' small population makes the viability of self-government challenging. The basis of Tokelau's legislative, administrative and judicial systems is the Tokelau Islands Act 1948, which has been amended on a number of occasions. Since 1993, the territory has annually elected its own head of government, the ''Ulu-o-Tokelau''. Before 1993, the
administrator of Tokelau The Administrator of Tokelau is an official of the Government of New Zealand, New Zealand Government, responsible for supervising the government of the dependent territory of Tokelau. Powers and functions Certain of the Administrator's powers ...
was the highest official in the government and the territory was directly administered by a New Zealand government department.


Etymology

is a word meaning "north wind" in the native
Tokelau language Tokelauan is a Polynesian language The Polynesian languages form a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writin ...
. The Tokelau islands were named the ''Union Islands'' and ''Union Group'' by European explorers at an earlier time. ''Tokelau Islands'' was adopted as the islands’ official name in 1946. The name was officially shortened to ''Tokelau'' on 9 December 1976.


History


Pre-history

Archaeological evidence indicates that the atolls of Tokelau –
Atafu Atafu, formerly known as the Duke of York Group, is a group of 52 coral islet An islet is a very small island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as w ...

Atafu
,
Nukunonu Nukunonu is the largest atoll within Tokelau, a dependency of New Zealand, in the south Pacific Ocean. It comprises 30 islets surrounding a central lagoon, with about of land area and a lagoon surface area of . Motuhaga is the only islet that h ...

Nukunonu
, and
Fakaofo Fakaofo, formerly known as ''Bowditch Island'', is a Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean atoll located in the Tokelau Group. The actual land area is only about 3 km2 (1.1 sq mi), consisting of islets on a coral reef surrounding a central lagoon ...
– were settled about 1,000 years ago from Samoa and may have been a gateway into Eastern Polynesia. The inhabitants embrace
Polynesian mythology The Polynesian narrative or Polynesian mythology encompasses the oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication Human communication, or anthroposemiotics, is the field dedicated to understanding how human ...
and the local god,
Tui TokelauTui Tokelau is a god worshipped in Tokelau in the Pacific. Before the arrival of Christianity in the islands, Tui Tokelau was the primary god along with the usual pantheon of Polynesian mythology, Polynesian gods. The marae of the village of Fakaofo ...
. Over time, they developed distinctive
musical Musical is the adjective of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), ...
and art forms. The three atolls have historically functioned separately politically, while maintaining social and linguistic cohesion. Tokelauan society has been governed by chiefly
clan A clan is a group of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of ...

clan
s, and there have been occasional skirmishes and wars between the atolls, as well as inter-marriage. Fakaofo, the "chiefly island", held some dominion over Atafu and Nukunonu after the dispersal of Atafu. Life on the atolls was historically subsistence-based, with a diet that relied mainly on fish and
coconut The coconut tree (''Cocos nucifera'') is a member of the palm tree family (biology), family (Arecaceae) and the only living species of the genus ''Cocos''. The term "coconut" (or the archaic "cocoanut") can refer to the whole coconut palm, t ...

coconut
.


Contact with other cultures

The first European to sight Atafu was Commodore
John Byron Vice-Admiral Vice admiral is a senior naval flag officer A flag officer is a Officer (armed forces), commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark the position from which the officer exerc ...
, on 24 June 1765. He called the island "Duke of York's Island". Parties from his expedition who ventured ashore reported that there were no signs of current or previous inhabitants.MacGregor, 30 Captain Edward Edwards, having learned of Byron's discovery, visited Atafu on 6 June 1791 in search of the . They found no inhabitants, but saw that there were houses containing canoes and fishing gear, which suggested to them that the island was being used as a temporary residence by fishing parties from other, nearby islands. On 12 June 1791, Edwards sailed farther south, and sighted Nukunonu, naming it "Duke of Clarence's Island". A landing party that went ashore was unable to make contact with the inhabitants, but saw "''morai''s", burying places, and canoes with "stages in their middle" sailing across the island's lagoons. On 29 October, 1825, August R. Strong of the USS ''Dolphin'' and his crew arrived at the atoll Nukunonu. He wrote:
Upon examination, we found they had removed all the women and children from the settlement, which was quite small, and put them in canoes lying off a rock in the lagoon. They would frequently come near the shore, but when we approached they would pull off with great noise and precipitation.
On 14 February 1835, Captain Smith, of the United States
whaling ship A whaler or whaling ship is a specialized vessel, designed or adapted for whaling Whaling is the process of hunting of whales for their usable products such as Whale meat, meat and blubber, which can be turned into Whale oil, a type of o ...

whaling ship
the ''General Jackson'', wrote of having sighted Fakaofo, which he chose to call "D'Wolf's Island". On 25 January, 1841, the
United States Exploring Expedition The United States Exploring Expedition of 1838–1842 was an exploring and surveying expedition of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding lands conducted by the United States. The original appointed commanding officer was Commodore (USN)#History, Com ...
visited Atafu, and discovered a small population living on the island. The residents appeared to be there only temporarily, because there was no chief among them, and they had the kind of double
canoe A canoe is a lightweight narrow vessel, typically pointed at both ends and open on top, propelled by one or more seated or kneeling paddlers facing the direction of travel and using a single-bladed paddle A paddle is a tool used for pushin ...

canoe
s that were typically used for inter-island travel. They appeared to have interacted with foreigners in the past, because they expressed a desire to engage in barter with the expedition crew, and they possessed items that were apparently of foreign origin: blue beads and a plane-iron. A few days later, French explorer Captain Morvan sighted Fakaofo. The American expedition reached Nukunonu on 28 January 1841, but did not record any information about inhabitants. On 29 January 1841, the expedition sighted Fakaofo and named it "Bowditch". The Fakaofo islanders were found to be similar in appearance and behavior to the Atafu islanders. Missionaries preached Christianity in Tokelau from 1845 to the 1870s. French
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
missionaries on
Wallis Island Wallis (Wallisian Wallisian, or Uvean ( wls, Fakauvea, links=no), is the Polynesian language spoken on Wallis (island), Wallis Island (also known as Uvea). The language is also known as East Uvean to distinguish it from the related West Uvean ...

Wallis Island
(also known as 'Uvea) and missionaries of the
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
London Missionary Society The London Missionary Society was an interdenominational Ecumenism (), also spelled oecumenism, is the concept and principle in which Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abraham ...
in Samoa used native teachers to convert the Tokelauans. Atafu was converted to Protestantism by the London Missionary Society, Nukunonu was converted to Catholicism and Fakaofo was converted to both denominations. The Rev. Samuel James Whitmee, of the
London Missionary Society The London Missionary Society was an interdenominational Ecumenism (), also spelled oecumenism, is the concept and principle in which Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abraham ...
, visited Tokelau in 1870. Helped by
Swains Island Swains Island (; Tokelauan: ''Olohega'' ; Samoan Samoan may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean ** Something of, from, or related to Samoa, a country encompassing the west ...

Swains Island
-based Eli Jennings senior,
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = Seal (device), National seal , national_mott ...

Peru
vian "blackbird"
slave trader The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and Slavery and religion, religions from ancient times to the present day. Likewise, its victims have come from many different ethnicities and religious groups. The social, economic, and ...
s arrived in 1863 and kidnapped nearly all (253) of the able-bodied men to work as labourers, depopulating the atolls. The Tokelauan men died of
dysentery Dysentery () is a type of gastroenteritis Gastroenteritis, also known as infectious diarrhea and gastro, is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract The gastrointestinal tract, (GI tract, GIT, digestive tract, digestion tract, aliment ...
and
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology), host tissues to the infectious ...

smallpox
, and very few returned. With that loss, the system of governance became based on the "Taupulega", or "Councils of Elders", on which individual families on each atoll were represented. During that time,
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
n immigrants settled, followed by American,
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...
, French,
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
and German beachcombers, marrying local women and repopulating the atolls. Between 1856 and 1979, the United States claimed that it held sovereignty over the island and the other Tokelauan atolls. In 1979, the U.S. conceded that Tokelau was under New Zealand sovereignty, and a
maritime boundary A maritime boundary is a conceptual division of the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. T ...
between Tokelau and
American Samoa #REDIRECT American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) ...

American Samoa
was established by the
Treaty of Tokehega The Treaty of Tokehega (), officially titled the Treaty between the United States of America and New Zealand on the Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Tokelau and the United States of America, is a 1980 treaty between New Zealand and the ...
.


Tropical cyclones

Cyclone Percy Cyclone Percy was the seventh named storm of the 2004–05 South Pacific cyclone season and the fourth and final severe tropical cyclone to form during the 2004–05 South Pacific cyclone season. Cyclone Percy originated as a tropical disturbance ...
struck and severely damaged Tokelau in late February and early March 2005. Forecasters underestimated the cyclone's strength and the length of time it would be in vicinity to Tokelau. It coincided with a spring
tide Tides are the rise and fall of sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of ...

tide
which put most of the area of the two villages on Fakaofo and Nukunonu under a metre of seawater. The cyclone also caused major
erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

erosion
on several islets of all three atolls, damaging roads and bridges and disrupting electric power and telecommunications systems. The cyclone did significant and widespread damage to food crops including bananas,
coconut The coconut tree (''Cocos nucifera'') is a member of the palm tree family (biology), family (Arecaceae) and the only living species of the genus ''Cocos''. The term "coconut" (or the archaic "cocoanut") can refer to the whole coconut palm, t ...

coconut
s and
pandanus ''Pandanus'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circum ...

pandanus
. It did not seriously injure anyone but villagers lost significant amounts of property. No significant land is more than above
high water High Water or Highwater may refer to: * High water, the state of tide when the water rises to its highest level. Film and television * Highwater (film), ''Highwater'' (film), a 2008 documentary * ''Step Up: High Water'', a web television series ...
of ordinary tides. This means Tokelau is particularly vulnerable to any possible
sea level rise Tide gauge measurements show that the current global sea level rise began at the start of the 20th century. Between 1900 and 2017, the globally averaged sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloqu ...

sea level rise
s.


Time zone

Until December 2011, Tokelau was 11 hours behind
Coordinated Universal Time Coordinated Universal Time or UTC is the primary time standard A time standard is a specification for measuring time: either the rate at which time passes; or points in time; or both. In modern times, several time specifications have been o ...
(UTC). At midnight 29 December 2011 Tokelau shifted to UTC+13:00 in response to Samoa's decision to switch sides of the International Dateline. This brought Tokelau closer to
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
time (and in the process omitted 30 December). Many sources claim that Tokelau is 14 hours ahead of UTC (UTC−10 before the 2011 date switch), but the correct time zone offset is UTC+13:00.


Government

In 1877, the islands were included under the protection of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
by an
Order in Council An Order in Council is a type of legislation in many countries, especially the Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that ...
that claimed jurisdiction over all unclaimed
Pacific Islands This is a list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, collectively called the Pacific Islands. Three major groups of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...
. Commander C. F. Oldham on HMS ''Egeria'' landed at each of the three atolls in June 1889 and officially raised the
Union Flag The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom The national flag of the United Kingdom is the Union Jack The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom. Though ...

Union Flag
, declaring the group a British
protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory that does not ...
. In conformity with desire expressed by "the Native government" they were annexed by the United Kingdom and included in the
Gilbert Islands The Gilbert Islands ( gil, Tungaru;Reilly Ridgell. ''Pacific Nations and Territories: The Islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia.'' 3rd. Ed. Honolulu: Bess Press, 1995. p. 95. formerly Kingsmill or King's-Mill IslandsVery often, this n ...

Gilbert Islands
by the Tokelau Islands (Union Islands) Order in Council, 1916.''Commonwealth and Colonial Law'' by
Kenneth Roberts-Wray Sir Kenneth Owen Roberts-Wray, GCMG The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British founded on 28 April 1818 by , later , while he was acting as regent for his father, . It is named in honour of two , and . Th ...
, London, Stevens, 1966. P. 894
The annexation took place on 29 February 1916. From the point in time that the islands were annexed, their people had the status of
British subjects The term "British subject" has several different meanings depending on the time period. Before 1949, it referred to almost all citizens of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, pro ...
. Tokelau was removed from the
Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony The Gilbert and Ellice Islands (GEIC as a colony) in the Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support ...
and placed under the jurisdiction of the
Governor-General of New Zealand The governor-general of New Zealand ( mi, te kāwana tianara o Aotearoa) is the viceregal A viceroy () is an official who runs a polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, wh ...
in 1925, two Orders in Council being made for the purpose on the same day. This step meant that New Zealand took over administration of Tokelau from the British on 11 February 1926.''Tokelau: A history of Government – The constitutional history and legal development of Tokelau''; Compiled and recorded for the Tokelau Law Team by Tony Angelo and Talei Pasikale, 2008 At this point, Tokelau was still a territory under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom but administered by New Zealand. The Union Islands (Revocation) Order in Council, 1948 after reciting the agreement by the governments of the United Kingdom and New Zealand that the islands should become part of New Zealand, revoked the Union Islands (No. 2) Order in Council, 1925, with effect from a date fixed by the Governor-General of New Zealand after he was satisfied that the New Zealand Parliament had provided for the incorporation of the islands with New Zealand, as it did by the ''Tokelau Islands Act 1948''. Tokelau formally became part of New Zealand on 1 January 1949. The
Dominion of New Zealand The Dominion of New Zealand was the historical successor to the Colony of New Zealand. It was a constitutional monarchy with a high level of self-government within the British Empire. New Zealand became a separate British Crown colony in 1841 ...
, of which Tokelau formerly was a part, has since been superseded by the
Realm of New Zealand The Realm of New Zealand consists of the entire area (or realm) in which the monarch of New Zealand functions as head of state. The Realm of New Zealand is not a federation; it is a constitutional concept encompassing the three autonomous legal ...

Realm of New Zealand
, of which Tokelau remains a part. Defence is the responsibility of New Zealand. When the ''British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948'' came into effect on 1 January 1949, Tokelauans who were British subjects gained
New Zealand citizenship New Zealand nationality law details the conditions by which a person holds New Zealand nationality. The primary law governing nationality requirements is the Citizenship Act 1977, which Coming into force, came into force on 1 January 1978. Reg ...
; a status they still hold. Villages are entitled to enact their own laws regulating their daily lives and New Zealand law only applies where it has been extended by specific enactment. Serious crime is rare and there are no prisons, and offenders are publicly rebuked, fined or made to work.


Politics

The
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
is
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...
, the Queen in right of New Zealand, who also reigns over the other
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
s. The Queen is represented in the territory by the
Administrator Administrator or admin may refer to: Job roles Computing and internet * Database administrator Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data. The role may include capacity planningCapacity planning is the pr ...
– currently
Ross Ardern David Ross Ardern (born 28 February 1954) is a New Zealand diplomat and former police officer. He is currently the Administrator of Tokelau, Administrator of Tokelau, having previously served as the High Commissioner (Commonwealth), High Commiss ...
. The current head of government is
Kerisiano Kalolo Aliki Kelihiano Kalolo,"University has new chancellor"
''Fiji Times'', 9 September 2012 ...
, who presides over the Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau, which functions as a cabinet. The Council consists of the ''faipule'' (leader) and ''pulenuku'' (village mayor) of each of the three atolls. The administrator is appointed by the minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, and the role of
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administrat ...
rotates between the three ''faipule'' for a one-year term. The Tokelau Amendment Act of 1996 confers legislative power on the
General Fono The General Fono is the parliament of Tokelau. It has 20 members (15 before 2008), representing the 3 atolls. Elections are held every three years. Tokelau is a de facto non-partisan democracy since both village and Fono elections are made withou ...
, a
unicameral In government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by ...
body. The number of seats each atoll receives in the Fono is determined by population – at present, Fakaofo and Atafu each have seven and Nukunonu has six. ''Faipule'' and ''pulenuku'' also sit in the Fono. On 11 November 2004, Tokelau and New Zealand took steps to formulate a treaty that would turn Tokelau from a non-self-governing territory to a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand. Besides the treaty, a United Nations-sponsored referendum on self-determination took place, with the three islands voting on successive days starting 13 February 2006. (Tokelauans in
Apia, Samoa Apia is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase ...

Apia, Samoa
, voted on 11 February.) Out of 581 votes cast, 349 were for Free Association, being short of the two-thirds majority required for the measure to pass. The referendum was profiled (somewhat light-heartedly) in the 1 May 2006 issue of ''
The New Yorker ''The New Yorker'' is an American weekly magazine featuring journalism Journalism is the production and distribution of report Image:Hurt Report cover page.png, 220px, Example of a front page of a report A report is a document that pr ...

The New Yorker
'' magazine. A repeat referendum took place on 20–24 October 2007, again narrowly failing to approve self-government. This time the vote was short by just 16 votes or 3%. In May 2008, the United Nations' Secretary General urged colonial powers "to complete the decolonization process in every one of the remaining 16
Non-Self-Governing Territories Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter refers to a non-self-governing territory (NSGT) as a territory “whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.” In practice, a NSGT is a territory deemed by the United Nations ...
", including Tokelau. This led ''
The New Zealand Herald ''The New Zealand Herald'' is a daily newspaper published in Auckland, New Zealand, owned by New Zealand Media and Entertainment, and considered a newspaper of record for New Zealand. It has the largest newspaper circulation of all newspapers ...
'' to comment that the United Nations was "apparently frustrated by two failed attempts to get Tokelau to vote for independence". In April 2008, speaking as leader of the National Party, future New Zealand Prime Minister
John Key Sir John Phillip Key (born 9 August 1961) is a New Zealand retired politician who served as the 38th prime minister of New Zealand The prime minister of New Zealand ( mi, Te pirimia o Aotearoa) is the head of government The head ...
stated that New Zealand had "imposed two referenda on the people of the Tokelau Islands", and questioned "the accepted wisdom that small states should undergo a de-colonisation process".


Geography

Tokelau includes three atolls in the South Pacific Ocean between longitudes 171° and 173° W and between latitudes and 10° S, about midway between Hawaii and New Zealand. From Atafu in the north to Fakaofo in the south, Tokelau extends for less than 200 km. The atolls lie about north of
Samoa Samoa (, ), officially the Independent State of Samoa ( sm, Malo Saʻoloto Tutoʻatasi o Sāmoa; sm, Sāmoa, ) and until 1997 known as Western Samoa, is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "i ...

Samoa
. The atolls are
Atafu Atafu, formerly known as the Duke of York Group, is a group of 52 coral islet An islet is a very small island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as w ...

Atafu
,
Nukunonu Nukunonu is the largest atoll within Tokelau, a dependency of New Zealand, in the south Pacific Ocean. It comprises 30 islets surrounding a central lagoon, with about of land area and a lagoon surface area of . Motuhaga is the only islet that h ...

Nukunonu
, both in a group of islands once called the Duke of Clarence Group, and
Fakaofo Fakaofo, formerly known as ''Bowditch Island'', is a Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean atoll located in the Tokelau Group. The actual land area is only about 3 km2 (1.1 sq mi), consisting of islets on a coral reef surrounding a central lagoon ...
, once Bowditch Island. Their combined land area is . The atolls each have a number of coral islands, where the villages are situated. The highest point of Tokelau is just above sea level. There are no ports or harbours for large vessels, however, all three atolls have a jetty to and from which supplies and passengers are shipped. Tokelau lies in the Pacific tropical cyclone belt. A fourth island that is culturally, historically, and geographically, but not politically, part of the Tokelau chain is
Swains Island Swains Island (; Tokelauan: ''Olohega'' ; Samoan Samoan may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean ** Something of, from, or related to Samoa, a country encompassing the west ...

Swains Island
(Olohega), under United States control since about 1900 and administered as part of
American Samoa #REDIRECT American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) ...

American Samoa
since 1925. Swains Island was claimed by the United States pursuant to the Guano Islands Act, as were the other three islands of Tokelau; the latter three claims were ceded to Tokelau by treaty in 1979. In the draft constitution of Tokelau subject to the Tokelauan self-determination referendum in 2006, Olohega (Swains Island) was also claimed as a part of Tokelau, though the claim was surrendered in the same 1979 treaty. This established a clearly defined boundary between American Samoa and Tokelau. Tokelau's claim to Swains is generally comparable to the Marshall Islands' claim to US-administered Wake Island, but the re-emergence of this somewhat dormant issue has been an unintended result of the United Nations' recent efforts to promote decolonisation in Tokelau. Tokelauans have proved somewhat reluctant to push their national identity in the political realm: recent decolonisation moves have mainly been driven from outside for ideological reasons. But at the same time, Tokelauans are reluctant to disown their common cultural identity with Swains Islanders who speak their language.


Environment

Tokelau is located in the Western Polynesian tropical moist forests List of terrestrial ecoregions (WWF), ecoregion. Most of the original vegetation has been replaced by
coconut The coconut tree (''Cocos nucifera'') is a member of the palm tree family (biology), family (Arecaceae) and the only living species of the genus ''Cocos''. The term "coconut" (or the archaic "cocoanut") can refer to the whole coconut palm, t ...

coconut
plantations, some of which have been abandoned and became scrubby forests. The atolls of Tokelau provide habitat for 38 indigenous plant species, over 150 insect species and 10 land crab species. One of the greatest threats to biodiversity is posed by introduced mammalian predators such as the Polynesian Rat. In 2011 Tokelau declared its entire exclusive economic zone of a shark sanctuary.


Economy

According to the US Central Intelligence Agency's list of countries by GDP (PPP) Tokelau has the smallest economy in the world. Tokelau has an annual purchasing power of about United States dollar, US$1,000 (Euro, €674) per capita. The government is almost entirely dependent on Subsidy, subsidies from New Zealand. It has annual revenues of less than US$500,000 (€336,995) against expenditures of some US$2.8 million (€1.9 million). The deficit is made up by aid from New Zealand. Tokelau annually exports around US$100,000 (€67,000) of Postage stamp, stamps, copra and woven and carved handicrafts and imports over US$300,000 (€202,000) of foodstuffs, building materials, and fuel to, and from, New Zealand. New Zealand also pays directly for the cost of medical and education services. Local industries include small-scale enterprises for copra production, wood work, plaited craft goods, stamps, coins, and fishing. Agriculture and livestock produces
coconut The coconut tree (''Cocos nucifera'') is a member of the palm tree family (biology), family (Arecaceae) and the only living species of the genus ''Cocos''. The term "coconut" (or the archaic "cocoanut") can refer to the whole coconut palm, t ...

coconut
s, copra, breadfruit, papayas, bananas, Common fig, figs, pigs, poultry and a few goats. Many Tokelauans live in New Zealand and support their families in Tokelau through remittances.


Solar power

Tokelau is one of only two nations to rely solely on renewable sources of energy in the production and consumption of electricity (Iceland also achieves 100% electricity production Energy in Iceland, from renewable sources). The goal of 100% renewable energy was met on 7 November 2012, according to the Foreign Affairs Minister of New Zealand, Murray McCully. Previously electricity was generated using diesel generators and was only available about 16 hours/day. Three
solar power Solar power is the conversion of renewable energy Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resource File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global vegetation A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural re ...

solar power
stations provide 100% of current electrical demand from photovoltaics, with battery backup. The first power station was completed in August 2012. In total, 4,032 solar panels are used and 1,344 batteries weighing  each. The systems are designed to withstand winds of . Tokelau's electricity is 93% generated by photovoltaics, with the remainder generated from coconut oil. File:Nukunonu Lagoon20070716.jpg,
Nukunonu Nukunonu is the largest atoll within Tokelau, a dependency of New Zealand, in the south Pacific Ocean. It comprises 30 islets surrounding a central lagoon, with about of land area and a lagoon surface area of . Motuhaga is the only islet that h ...

Nukunonu
Lagoon in Tokelau. File:Atafu street dawn 20070715.jpg, Atafu street at dawn


Internet domain name

Tokelau has increased its GDP by more than 10% through registrations of domain names under its top-level domain, .tk. Registrations can be either free, in which case the user owns only usage rights and not the domain itself, or paid, which grants full rights. Free domains are pointed to Tokelau name servers, which redirects the domain via HTML frames to a specified address or to a specified A record, A or NS record, and the redirection of up to 250 email addresses to an external address (not at a .tk domain). In September 2003
Fakaofo Fakaofo, formerly known as ''Bowditch Island'', is a Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean atoll located in the Tokelau Group. The actual land area is only about 3 km2 (1.1 sq mi), consisting of islets on a coral reef surrounding a central lagoon ...
became the first part of Tokelau with a high-speed Internet connection. Foundation Tokelau financed the project. Tokelau gives most domain names under its authority away to anyone for free to gain publicity for the territory. This has allowed the nation to gain enhanced telecommunications technologies, such as more computers and Internet access for Tokelauan residents. By 2012, there were about 120 computers, mostly laptops, and 1/6th of the economy consists of income from .tk domain names. According to a 2016 analysis of domain name registration performed by the .uk registrar Nominet using data from ZookNIC, tk domains are the "world's largest country-code domain ... almost as large as second and third place holders China (.cn) and Germany (.de) combined".


Demography

According to the 2016 Tokelau Census, Tokelau has a ''de jure'' usually resident population of 1,499 people. The census shows a 6.2% increase in the de jure usually resident population between 2011 and 2016. The nationals of Tokelau are called Tokelauan people, Tokelauans, and the major ethnic group is Polynesian people, Polynesian; it has no recorded minority groups. About 84% of inhabitants are of wholly or partly Tokelauan ethnicity; people of
Samoa Samoa (, ), officially the Independent State of Samoa ( sm, Malo Saʻoloto Tutoʻatasi o Sāmoa; sm, Sāmoa, ) and until 1997 known as Western Samoa, is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "i ...

Samoa
n ethnicity make up 6.7% of the population, and
Tuvalu Tuvalu ( or ; formerly known as the Ellice Islands Tuvalu ( ; formerly known as the Ellice Islands) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial ...

Tuvalu
ans 2.8%. The main language—spoken by over 90% of inhabitants—is Tokelauan, but almost 60% also speak English. The less than 1,500 Polynesia#Cultures of Polynesia, Polynesian inhabitants live in three villages. Their isolation and lack of resources greatly limits economic development and confines agriculture to the subsistence level. The very limited natural resources and overcrowding are contributing to emigration to
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
and
Samoa Samoa (, ), officially the Independent State of Samoa ( sm, Malo Saʻoloto Tutoʻatasi o Sāmoa; sm, Sāmoa, ) and until 1997 known as Western Samoa, is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "i ...

Samoa
. In the 2013 New Zealand census, more than 7,000 people identified as Tokelauan, almost five times as many as live in Tokelau itself. Depletion of tuna has made fishing for food more difficult. A significant proportion (44.9% in 2016) of the population List of sovereign states and dependent territories by immigrant population, were born overseas, mostly in Samoa (15.3% of total population) and New Zealand (11.5%). While slightly more females than males live on Atafu and Fakaofo, males make up 57% of Nukunonu residents. Only 9% of Tokelauans aged 40 or more have never been married. One-quarter of the population were born overseas; almost all the rest live on the same atoll they were born on. Most households own five or more pigs. Despite its low income, Tokelau has a life expectancy of 69 years, comparable with other Oceania islands.


Religion

Tokelau is predominantly Christianity, Christian. On the island of
Atafu Atafu, formerly known as the Duke of York Group, is a group of 52 coral islet An islet is a very small island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as w ...

Atafu
almost all inhabitants are members of the Congregational Christian Church in Samoa, Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (corresponding to 62% of the total population). On
Nukunonu Nukunonu is the largest atoll within Tokelau, a dependency of New Zealand, in the south Pacific Ocean. It comprises 30 islets surrounding a central lagoon, with about of land area and a lagoon surface area of . Motuhaga is the only islet that h ...

Nukunonu
almost all are Roman Catholic (corresponding to 34% of the total population). On
Fakaofo Fakaofo, formerly known as ''Bowditch Island'', is a Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean atoll located in the Tokelau Group. The actual land area is only about 3 km2 (1.1 sq mi), consisting of islets on a coral reef surrounding a central lagoon ...
both denominations are present with the Congregational Christian Church predominant. 5% of the population follow other religions.


Culture


Healthcare and education

Each atoll has a school and hospital. The health services have a Director of Health in Apia and a Chief Clinical Advisor who moves from atoll to atoll as required to assist the doctors attached to each hospital. In 2007 there was not always a doctor on each island and locums were appointed to fill the gaps. Many Tokelauan youth travel to New Zealand to further their education and Tokelau is most populated around the Christmas season, with students returning home and then heading off for another year of study.


Sport

Due to its small size, Tokelau is unaffiliated to most international sports organisations, and rarely takes part in international events. The only significant international competition Tokelau takes part in is the Pacific Games. Tokelau won its first ever gold medals at the 2007 Pacific Games in Apia, winning a total of five medals (three gold, a silver and a bronze), all in lawn bowls, and finishing 12th (out of 22) on the overall medal table. This included two gold medals for Violina Linda Pedro (in the women's pairs and the women's singles), making her Tokelau's most successful individual athlete to date. In October 2010, table tennis became "the first sport in Tokelau to be granted membership at a Continental or World level", when the Tokelau Table Tennis Association was formally established and became the 23rd member of the Oceania Table Tennis Federation."Tokelau, a Speck in the Ocean but an Important New Member for Oceania"
International Table Tennis Federation, 7 October 2010
Tokelau was due to take part, for the first time, in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, in Delhi, but, for unknown reasons, ultimately did not do so. Tokelau does have a National Sports Federation, and a significant sporting event is the Tokelau Games, which are held yearly. When they are held, "all of Tokelau virtually stands still", as "[i]n excess of 50% of the population take part and all work and school stops at the time". The 2010 Games included competitions in rugby sevens, netball and kilikiti, alongside "a cultural evening [...] where each atoll showcases their traditional songs and dances". Netball is thought to have been introduced to Tokelau by the British, but became more popular when New Zealand's government took over the territory. The sport is often played during inter-island sport competitions, alongside other sports like rugby league and volleyball. In Tokelau, there are two levels to the association football, football league. From Fale, Tokelau, Fale,
Fakaofo Fakaofo, formerly known as ''Bowditch Island'', is a Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean atoll located in the Tokelau Group. The actual land area is only about 3 km2 (1.1 sq mi), consisting of islets on a coral reef surrounding a central lagoon ...
, two of the best clubs are Hakava Club and Matalele Club."Tokelau"
Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation, 29 July 2010.


Communication and transportation

Tokelau has a radio telephone service between the islands and to
Samoa Samoa (, ), officially the Independent State of Samoa ( sm, Malo Saʻoloto Tutoʻatasi o Sāmoa; sm, Sāmoa, ) and until 1997 known as Western Samoa, is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "i ...

Samoa
. In 1997, a government-regulated telephone service (TeleTok) with three satellite earth stations was established. Each atoll has a radio-broadcast station that broadcasts shipping and weather reports and every household has a radio or access to one. News is disseminated through the government newsletter ''Te Vakai''. Tokelau has the international calling code of 690, and has had five-digit telephone numbers from November 2015 (the existing four-digit numbers were prefixed by the digit "2"). Tokelau is served by the MV ''Mataliki'', delivered new in 2016 as a replacement of the smaller ''MV Tokelau'' and jointly managed by the Tokelau Transport Department and the company Transport and Marine. The vessel, which has a capacity of 60 passengers on international cruises and 120 for transport between the atolls of Tokelau, operates fortnightly between Tokelau and Apia, with the trip taking a little over a day. A dedicated cargo vessel, the ''MV Kalopaga'', will enter service in 2018 and replace chartered freight vessels. Ships load and unload cargo by motoring up to the down-wind (leeward) side of the islet where the people live and maintaining station, by intermittent use of engines, close to the reef edge so that a landing barge can be motored out to transfer cargo to or from the shore. On returning to shore, the barge negotiates a narrow channel through the reef to the beach. Usually this landing is subject to ocean swell and beaching requires considerable skill and, often, coral abrasions to bodies. When bad weather prevents the barge making the trip, the ship stands off to wait for suitable weather or goes off to one of the other atolls to attempt to load or unload its passengers or cargo, or both. There is no airport in Tokelau, so boats are the main means of travel and transport. Some seaplanes and amphibious aircraft are able to land in the island's lagoons. An airstrip was considered by the New Zealand Government in 2010. In 2016, plans to link the atolls with Samoa by helicopter had to be abandoned because of high costs, leading in the following years to renewed calls to the New Zealand government for help with establishing air services.


See also

* Badge of Tokelau * Outline of Tokelau


References


Notes


Citations


Further reading

* * * *


External links


Tokelau
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
Tokelau
from ''UCB Libraries GovPubs'' * *


Governance


Tokelau Council of Ongoing Government
executive branch of the government
The Administrator of Tokelau
Tokelau website of the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Atolls


Fakaofo

Nukunonu
{{Authority control Tokelau, 1948 establishments in Oceania Atolls of New Zealand British Western Pacific Territories Dependent territories of New Zealand English-speaking countries and territories Geography of Polynesia Island countries States and territories established in 1948