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Tokelau is a group of three tropical coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, a territory of New Zealand.

No coat of arms
(In Detail)
Official language Tokelauan, English
Capital None
AdministratorLindsay Watt
 - Total
 - % water

10 kmē
 - Total (2001)
 - Density

Dependent area ofNew Zealand
Currency New Zealand dollar
Time zone UTC -11
National anthem None
Internet TLD.TK


Tokelau was originally settled by Polynesian emigrants from surrounding island groups. The islands were made a British protectorate in 1889 and transferred to New Zealand administration in 1925. They are still a territory of New Zealand administered under the Tokelau Act of 1948, as amended from 1963 to 1999, and defence is the responsibility of New Zealand. However, the Tokelauans are drafting a constitution, and developing institutions and patterns of self-government as Tokelau moves toward free association with New Zealand, like Niue.


The chief of state is Queen Elizabeth, who is represented by Administrator Lindsay Watt. The head of government is Aliki Faipule Falimateao, who presides over the Council of Faipule, consisting of three elected leaders, one from each atoll, which functions as a cabinet. Tokelau has no elections; the monarch is hereditary, the administrator appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in New Zealand, and the head of government is chosen from the Council of Faipule for a one-year term.

The Tokelau Amendment Act of 1996 confers legislative power on the General Fono, a unicameral body of 45 seats. Each atoll's Council of Elders or Taupulega chooses 15 representatives to serve three-year terms.


Tokelau is a group of three tropical coral atolls -- Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo -- enclosing large lagoons in the south Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand, in Pacific typhoon belt. They include no ports or harbors.


Tokelau is a very poor community, with a purchasing power of about $1,000 per capita. The government has revenues of less than $500,000 per year against expenditures of some $2.8 million. The deficit is made up by foreign aid from New Zealand. Tokelau exports around $100,000 of stamps, copra, and handicrafts and imports over $300,000 of foodstuffs, building materials, and fuel to and from New Zealand.

Local industries include small-scale enterprises for copra production, wood work, plaited craft goods, stamps, coins, and fishing. Agriculture and livestock produces coconuts, copra, breadfruit, papayas, and bananas, pigs, poultry, and goats.

The most known activity internationally of Tokelau's .tk registrar, Dot TK, is their free Internet domain name (.tk) policy, giving free domains away and selling commercially lucrative domains.


Tokelau has less than 1500 Polynesian inhabitants living in three villages. They speak the Tokelauan language and the English language Their isolation and lack of resources greatly restrains economic development and confine agriculture to the subsistence level. The very limited natural resources and overcrowding are contributing to emigration to New Zealand, resulting in a population decline of about 0.9% per year.

On the island of Atafu, all inhabitants are members of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa; on Nukunonu, all are Roman Catholic; on Fakaofo, both denominations are present with the Congregational Christian Church predominant. The total proportions are: Congregational Christian Church 70%, Roman Catholic 28%, other 2%.

Miscellaneous topics

Tokelau has radiotelephone service between the islands and to Samoa and in 1997 established a government-regulated telephone service (TeleTok), with three satellite earth stations. Each atoll has a radio broadcast station that broadcasts shipping and weather reports and nearly every household has a radio.

Since September 2003 the island Fakaofo is the first part of Tokelau with an internet conection. The internet service is free for everyone. The Foundation Tokelau finances the project.

External links

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