About Tokelau [ Territory ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Tokelau; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this territory.


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


Tropical; moderated by trade winds (April to November)


Low-lying coral atolls enclosing large lagoons


lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m

Geo Notes

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

Approved Official Names

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Tokelau

Capital City

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)

Natuaral Hazards

Lies in Pacific typhoon belt

Environmental Issues

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

Life Expectancy

total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA

Sex Ratio


Languages Spoken

Tokelauan (a Polynesian language), English

Religions Practiced

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

Legal System

New Zealand and local statutes

National Holiday

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

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)


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.

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.

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)

Tokelau location map

total: 12 sq km
land: 12 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Tokelau flag

1,400 (July 2010 est.)


noun: Tokelauan(s)
adjective: Tokelauan

Ethnic Groups




Dependency Of

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

Independence Date

none (territory of New Zealand)

Government Type


Voting Rights

21 years of age; universal

Internet Users

800 (2008)

Internet Hosts

526 (2010)

Internet Country Code


Ports & Terminals

none; offshore anchorage only

National Budget

revenues: $430,800
expenditures: $2.8 million (1987 est.)

Exchange Rates

New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar - 1.6204 (2009), 1.4151 (2008), 1.3811 (2007), 1.5408 (2006), 1.4203 (2005)

Inflation Rate


Main Industries

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

Agricultural Products

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

Labor Force

440 (2001)

Unemployment Rate


GDP (USD Parity)

$1.5 million (1993 est.)

GDP Per Capita

$1,000 (1993 est.)

Below Poverty