Tokelau General Information

Background: Originally settled by Polynesian settlers from the surrounding island groups, the Tokelau Islands became a British protectorate in 1889. They were placed under New Zealand administration in 1925. According to ehotelat, these low islands should disappear in the 21st century if global warming will cause sea levels to rise.


Location: Oceania, a group of three islands in the South Pacific, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.
Geographic coordinates: 9° 00′ S. latitude, 172° 00′ W
Reference map: Oceania.
Area: total: 10 km2; land surface area: 10 km2; water surface area: 0 km2
Comparative area: about 17 times the size of the Mall Park in Washington, DC
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 101 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical; moderated by trade winds (April to November).
Terrain: low coral atolls surrounding large lagoons.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m; highest point: unnamed point 5 m;
Natural resources: negligible
Land use: arable land: 0% (soil layer thin and soil infertile); cultivated land: 0%; pasture: 0%; forests and plantations: 0%; others: 100% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: no data.
Natural Hazards: located in the Pacific typhoon belt.
Current environmental issues: very limited natural resources and overpopulation leading to emigration to New Zealand.
International agreements on environmental protection:
Note to the section “Geography”:


Population: 1,445 people (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: up to 14 years: no data; from 15 to 64 years: no data; over 65 years: no data.
Population growth: -0.92% (2001 est.).
Fertility: no data.
Mortality: no data.
Migration: no data.
Sex ratio:
Child mortality: no data.
Life expectancy: for the general population: not available; men: no data; women: no data.
General birth rate: no data.
Proportion of adults infected with HIV:
Number of people infected with HIV:
AIDS deaths:
Nationality: noun: inhabitant of the Tokelau Islands; adjective: pertaining to the Tokelau Islands.
Ethnic groups: Polynesians.
Believers: Church of Christ Congregationalists 70%, Catholics 28%, other 2%; note: on Atafu all are followers of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa; on Nukunono all Catholics; both faiths are represented on Fakaofo, Congregationalists predominate.
Language(s): Tokelau (Polynesian), English.


Common long form: no;
Common short form: Tokelau. Dependency State: New Zealand Territory; note – the islanders drafted a constitution developing institutions and models of self-government towards a form of free association with New Zealand.
State structure: no data.
Capital: no; each atoll has its own administrative center.
Administrative division: none (territory of New Zealand).
Independence: none (New Zealand territory).
National holiday: Waitangi Day, February 6 (1840) (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand).
Constitution: administered under the Tokelau Islands Act 1948, amended in 1970.
Legal system: British and local statutes.
Suffrage: from 21 years old; universal.
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) The UK and New Zealand are represented by Managing Director Lindsay WATT (since March 1993);
head of government: Aliki Faipule FALIMATEAO (since 1997);
government: the council of Faipule, consists of three elected leaders, one from each atoll; functions as a cabinet of ministers; elections: no; hereditary monarchy; the manager is appointed by the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade; the head of government is elected from among the members of the Faipule council for one year.
Legislature: General Fono unicameral assembly (45 seats: 15 from each atoll; members are elected by the Councils of Elders [Taupulega] of each atoll for three years); note – since 1996, legislative power has been vested in General Fono.
Judiciary: The Supreme Court in New Zealand administers civil and criminal justice.
Political parties and leaders: no.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: SPC, WHO (associate).
Diplomatic representation in the United States: none (New Zealand territory).
US Diplomatic Mission: None (New Zealand territory).
Flag Description: The flag of New Zealand is used.


Economic overview: Small scale (three villages), isolation and acute lack of resources significantly constrain economic development and limit agricultural activities to subsistence farming. The population is forced to rely on New Zealand’s assistance in the maintenance of public services, annual subsidies make up the vast majority of GDP. Another important source of income is the sale of copra, postage stamps, souvenir coins and handicrafts. Remittances are also received from relatives in New Zealand.
GDP: Purchasing Power Parity $1.5 million (1993 est.)
Real GDP growth rate: no data available.
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $1,000 (1993 est.).
Composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: no data; industry: no data; service sector: no data.
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: no data available.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: for the poorest 10% of households: n/a; by top 10% of households: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: no data.
Labor force: no data.
Employment structure:
Unemployment rate: no data.
Budget: revenues: $430,830; expenses: $2.8 million, including capital investments – $37,300 (1987 est.).
Spheres of economy: small enterprises for the preparation of copra, the manufacture of wood products and wicker handicrafts; issue of stamps, coins; fishing.
Growth in industrial production: no data available.
Electricity production: no data.
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: no data available; hydropower: no data; nuclear fuel: no data; others: no data.
Electricity consumption: no data.
Export of electricity: no data.
Electricity import: no data.
Agricultural products: coconuts, copra, breadfruit, papaya, bananas; pigs, poultry, goats.
Export: $98,000 (free on board, 1983)
Exports: stamps, copra, handicrafts.
Export partners: New Zealand.
Import: $323,400 (S.I.F., 1983).
Import articles: foodstuffs, building materials, fuel.
Import partners: New Zealand.
External debt: no. Economic aid recipient: $3.8 million (1995)
Economic aid donor:
Currency: New Zealand dollar.
Currency code: NZD.
Exchange rate: NZD/USD – 2.2502 (January 2001), 2.1863 (2000), 1.8886 (1999), 1.8632 (1998), 1.5083 (1997), 1.4543 (1996).
Fiscal year: April 1-March 31.


Telecommunications Telephone lines: no data.
Mobile cell phones: 0 (2001).
Telephone system: internal: radiotelephone communication between the islands; international: radiotelephone connection with Samoa; government-controlled telephone system (TeleTok) with 3 satellite earth stations, established in 1997.
Broadcasting stations: NA ; note: each atoll has an unknown type of broadcasting station that announces ship arrivals and weather reports (1998).
Radio receivers: 1,000 (1997).
Television broadcast stations: no data.
TVs: 0 (1997).
Internet country code: tk
Internet service providers: 1 (2000).
Number of users: no data.


Transport Railways: 0 km.
Roads: total: no data; coated: no data; uncoated: no data.
Ports and harbours: none; only anchorages.
Merchant fleet: none (2000 est.).
Airports: none; seaplanes from Samoa land in the lagoons.
Airports with paved runways:
Airports with non-paved runways:

Tokelau General Information

About the author