Tokelau

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Tokelau
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Tokelau
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Map of Tokelau
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Photos of Tokelau
 
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OF TOKELAU
 

Introduction

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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.
 
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Geography

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Oceania, group of three atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
 
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9 00 S, 172 00 W
 
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total: 12 sq km
country comparison to the world: 242
land: 12 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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about 17 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
 
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0 km
 
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101 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
 
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tropical; moderated by trade winds (April to November)
 
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low-lying coral atolls enclosing large lagoons
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m
 
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NEGL
 
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arable land: 0% (soil is thin and infertile)
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
 
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NA
 
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lies in Pacific typhoon belt
 
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limited natural resources and overcrowding are contributing to emigration to New Zealand
 
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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
 
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People and Society

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noun: Tokelauan(s)
adjective: Tokelauan
 
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Polynesian
 
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Tokelauan (a Polynesian language), English
 
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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
 
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1,384 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 235
 
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0-14 years: 42%
15-64 years: 53%
65 years and over: 5% (2009 est.)
 
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-0.011% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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urban population: 0% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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NA
 
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total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
 
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total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
 
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NA
 
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improved:
rural: 97% of population
total: 97% of population
unimproved:
rural: 3% of population
total: 3% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
rural: 93% of population
total: 93% of population
unimproved:
rural: 7% of population
total: 7% of population (2008)
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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63.4% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 2
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2003)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Tokelau
 
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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
 
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NA
 
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none; each atoll has its own administrative center
time difference: UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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none (territory of New Zealand)
 
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none (territory of New Zealand)
 
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Waitangi Day (Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand), 6 February (1840)
 
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administered under the Tokelau Islands Act of 1948; amended in 1970
 
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common law system of New Zealand
 
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21 years of age; universal
 
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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 Jonathan KINGS (since February 2011)
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 Opens in New Window)
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; 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
 
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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
 
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Supreme Court in New Zealand exercises civil and criminal jurisdiction in Tokelau
 
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none
 
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none
 
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PIF (observer), SPC, UNESCO (associate), UPU
 
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none (territory of New Zealand)
 
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none (territory of New Zealand)
 
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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
 
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tuluma (fishing tackle box)
 
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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)
 
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Economy

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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.
 
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$1.5 million (1993 est.)
country comparison to the world: 228
 
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$NA
 
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NA%
 
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$1,000 (1993 est.)
country comparison to the world: 213
 
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agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
 
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440 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 229
 
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NA%
 
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NA%
 
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revenues: $430,800
expenditures: $2.8 million (1987 est.)
 
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NA%
 
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coconuts, copra, breadfruit, papayas, bananas; pigs, poultry, goats; fish
 
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small-scale enterprises for copra production, woodworking, plaited craft goods; stamps, coins; fishing
 
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NA kWh
 
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NA kWh
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
 
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$0 (2002)
country comparison to the world: 223
 
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stamps, copra, handicrafts
 
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$969,200 (2002)
country comparison to the world: 223
 
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foodstuffs, building materials, fuel
 
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New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar -
1.3874 (2010)
1.6002 (2009)
1.4151 (2008)
1.3811 (2007)
1.5408 (2006)
 
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Communications

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300 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 228
 
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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
 
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no broadcast television stations; each atoll operates a radio service that provides shipping news and weather reports (2009)
 
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.tk
 
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526 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 178
 
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800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 216
 
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Transportation

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none; offshore anchorage only
 
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Military

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defense is the responsibility of New Zealand
 
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Transnational Issues

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