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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.
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: 10 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 10 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 17 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
101 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 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% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
lies in Pacific typhoon belt
Environment - current issues:
very limited natural resources and overcrowding are contributing to emigration to New Zealand
Geography - note:
consists of three atolls, each with a lagoon surrounded by a number of reef-bound islets of varying length and rising to over three meters above sea level
People Tokelau
1,418 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 42%
15-64 years: 53%
65 years and over: 5% (2003 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.01% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
NA births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
NA deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
NA migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
NA (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA years
male: 68 years
female: 70 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
NA children born/woman (2003 est.)
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
Government Tokelau
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Tokelau
Dependency status:
self-administering territory of New Zealand; note - Tokelauans are drafting a constitution and developing institutions and patterns of self-government as Tokelau moves toward free association with New Zealand
Government type:
none; each atoll has its own administrative center
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, as 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); the UK and New Zealand are represented by Administrator Lindsay WATT (since NA March 1993)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; administrator appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in New Zealand; the head of government is chosen from the Council of Faipule and serves a one-year term
head of government: Aliki Faipule Pio TUIA (since NA 2002)
cabinet: the Council of Faipule, consisting of three elected leaders - one from each atoll - functions as a cabinet
Legislative branch:
unicameral General Fono (48 seats; members chosen by each atoll's Council of Elders or Taupulega to serve three-year terms); note - the Tokelau Amendment Act of 1996 confers limited legislative power on the General Fono
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:
SPC, UNESCO (associate), WHO (associate)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (territory of New Zealand)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (territory of New Zealand)
Flag description:
the flag of New Zealand is used
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 $4 million annually - to maintain public services, with annual aid being substantially greater than GDP. 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.
purchasing power parity - $1.5 million (1993 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,000 (1993 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Labor force:
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $430,830
expenditures: $2.8 million, including capital expenditures of $37,300 (1987 est.)
small-scale enterprises for copra production, woodworking, plaited craft goods; stamps, coins; fishing
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
NA kWh
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
NA kWh
Agriculture - products:
coconuts, copra, breadfruit, papayas, bananas; pigs, poultry, goats
$98,000 f.o.b. (1983)
Exports - commodities:
stamps, copra, handicrafts
Exports - partners:
NZ (2000)
$323,000 c.i.f. (1983)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, building materials, fuel
Imports - partners:
NZ (2000)
Debt - external:
Economic aid - recipient:
from New Zealand about $4 million annually
New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
New Zealand dollars per US dollar - 2.154 (2002), 2.3776 (2001), 2.1863 (2000), 1.8886 (1999), 1.8632 (1998), 1.5083 (1997)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Tokelau
Telephones - main lines in use:
Telephones - mobile cellular:
0 (2001)
Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate
domestic: radiotelephone service between islands
international: radiotelephone service to Samoa; government-regulated telephone service (TeleTok), with 3 satellite earth stations, established in 1997
Radio broadcast stations:
AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA
note: each atoll has a radio broadcast station of unknown type that broadcasts shipping and weather reports (1998)
1,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
Transportation Tokelau
0 km
total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km
Ports and harbors:
none; offshore anchorage only
Merchant marine:
none (2002 est.)
none; lagoon landings are possible by amphibious aircraft (2002)
Military Tokelau
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of New Zealand
Transnational Issues Tokelau
Disputes - international: