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Tokelau, See : Flags, Maps

Tokelau (Australia-Oceania)

Introduction ::Tokelau


Originally settled by Polynesian emigrants from surrounding island groups, the Tokelau Islands were made a British protectorate in 1889. They were transferred to New Zealand administration in 1925. Referenda held in 2006 and 2007 to change the status of the islands from that of a New Zealand territory to one of free association with New Zealand did not meet the needed threshold for approval.

Geography ::Tokelau


Oceania, group of three atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates:
9 00 S, 172 00 W

Map references:



total: 12 sq km country comparison to the world: 241 land: 12 sq km

water: 0 sq km


Area - comparative:

about 17 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries:

0 km


101 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; moderated by trade winds (April to November)


low-lying coral atolls enclosing large lagoons

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: unnamed location 5 m

Natural resources:

Land use:

arable land: 0% (soil is thin and infertile)

permanent crops: 0%

other: 100% (2005)

Irrigated land:

Natural hazards:

lies in Pacific typhoon belt

Environment - current issues:

limited natural resources and overcrowding are contributing to emigration to New Zealand

Geography - note:

consists of three atolls (Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu), each with a lagoon surrounded by a number of reef-bound islets of varying length and rising to over 3 m above sea level

People ::Tokelau


1,400 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 234

Age structure:

0-14 years: 42%

15-64 years: 53%

65 years and over: 5% (2009 est.)

Population growth rate:

-0.011% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 199

Birth rate:

Death rate:

Net migration rate:


urban population: 0% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 0% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

Infant mortality rate:

total: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Total fertility rate:

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: Tokelauan(s)

adjective: Tokelauan

Ethnic groups:



Congregational Christian Church 70%, Roman Catholic 28%, other 2%

note: on Atafu, all Congregational Christian Church of Samoa; on Nukunonu, all Roman Catholic; on Fakaofo, both denominations, with the Congregational Christian Church predominant


Tokelauan (a Polynesian language), English


School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 11 years

male: 10 years

female: 11 years (2004)

Education expenditures:

Government ::Tokelau

Country name:

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Tokelau

Dependency status:

self-administering territory of New Zealand; note - Tokelau and New Zealand have agreed to a draft constitution as Tokelau moves toward free association with New Zealand; a UN-sponsored referendum on self governance in October 2007 did not produce the two-thirds majority vote necessary for changing the political status

Government type:


none; each atoll has its own administrative center

time difference: UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

none (territory of New Zealand)


none (territory of New Zealand)

National holiday:

Waitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840)


administered under the Tokelau Islands Act of 1948; amended in 1970

Legal system:

New Zealand and local statutes


21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General of New Zealand Anand SATYANAND (since 23 August 2006); New Zealand is represented by Administrator David PAYTON (since 17 October 2006)

head of government: Foua TOLOA (since 21 February 2009); note - position rotates annually among the 3 Faipule (village leaders)

cabinet: the Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau, consisting of 3 Faipule (village leaders) and 3 Pulenuku (village mayors), functions as a cabinet (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: the monarchy is hereditary; administrator appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in New Zealand; the head of government chosen from the Council of Faipule and serves a one-year term

Legislative branch:

unicameral General Fono (20 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms based upon proportional representation from the three islands; Atafu has 7 seats, Fakaofo has 7 seats, Nukunonu has 6 seats); note - the Tokelau Amendment Act of 1996 confers limited legislative power to the General Fono

elections: last held on 17-19 January 2008 (next to be held in 2011)

election results: independents 20

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court in New Zealand exercises civil and criminal jurisdiction in Tokelau

Political parties and leaders:


Political pressure groups and leaders:


International organization participation:

PIF (observer), SPC, UNESCO (associate), UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US:

none (territory of New Zealand)

Diplomatic representation from the US:

none (territory of New Zealand)

Flag description:

a yellow stylized Tokelauan canoe on a dark blue field sails toward the manu - the Southern Cross constellation of four, white, five-pointed stars at the hoist side; the Southern Cross represents the role of Christianity in Tokelauan culture and symbolizes the country's navigating into the future, the color yellow indicates happiness and peace, and the blue field represents the ocean on which the community relies

National anthem:

name: "Te Atua" (For the Almighty)

lyrics/music: unknown/Falani KALOLO

note: adopted 2008; in preparation for eventual self governance, Tokelau held a national contest to choose an anthem; as a territory of New Zealand, "God Defend New Zealand" and "God Save the Queen" are official (see New Zealand)

Economy ::Tokelau

Economy - overview:

Tokelau's small size (three villages), isolation, and lack of resources greatly restrain economic development and confine agriculture to the subsistence level. The people rely heavily on aid from New Zealand - about $10 million annually in 2008 and 2009 - to maintain public services. New Zealand's support amounts to 80% of Tokelau's recurrent government budget. An international trust fund, currently worth nearly US$32 million, was established in 2004 to provide Tokelau an independent source of revenue. The principal sources of revenue come from sales of copra, postage stamps, souvenir coins, and handicrafts. Money is also remitted to families from relatives in New Zealand.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$1.5 million (1993 est.) country comparison to the world: 228

GDP (official exchange rate):

GDP - real growth rate:

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$1,000 (1993 est.) country comparison to the world: 215

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Labor force:

440 (2001) country comparison to the world: 228

Unemployment rate:

Population below poverty line:

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Agriculture - products:

coconuts, copra, breadfruit, papayas, bananas; pigs, poultry, goats; fish


small-scale enterprises for copra production, woodworking, plaited craft goods; stamps, coins; fishing

Electricity - production:

NA kWh

Electricity - consumption:

NA kWh


$0 (2002) country comparison to the world: 223

Exports - commodities:

stamps, copra, handicrafts


$969,200 (2002) country comparison to the world: 222

Imports - commodities:

foodstuffs, building materials, fuel

Exchange rates:

New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar - 1.4015 (2010), 1.6002 (2009), 1.4151 (2008), 1.3811 (2007), 1.5408 (2006)

Communications ::Tokelau

Telephones - main lines in use:

300 (2009) country comparison to the world: 228

Telephone system:

general assessment: modern satellite-based communications system

domestic: radiotelephone service between islands

international: country code - 690; radiotelephone service to Samoa; government-regulated telephone service (TeleTok); satellite earth stations - 3

Broadcast media:

no broadcast television stations; each atoll operates a radio service that provides shipping news and weather reports (2009)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

526 (2010) country comparison to the world: 178

Internet users:

800 (2008) country comparison to the world: 215

Transportation ::Tokelau

Ports and terminals:

none; offshore anchorage only

Military ::Tokelau

Military - note:

defense is the responsibility of New Zealand

Transnational Issues ::Tokelau

Disputes - international:

Tokelau included American Samoa's Swains Island (Olohega) in its 2006 draft constitution



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