(territory of New Zealand)
[Country Flag of Tokelau]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Tokelau]



[Top of Page]

Location: Oceania, group of three islands 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: Oceania

total: 10 sq km
land: 10 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: about 17 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 101 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; moderated by trade winds (April to November)

Terrain: low-lying coral atolls enclosing large lagoons

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

Natural resources: NEGL

Land use:
arable land: 0% (soil is thin and infertile)
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 100% (1993 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

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA


[Top of Page]

Population: 1,443 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate: -1.35% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: NA births/1,000 population

Death rate: NA deaths/1,000 population

Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population

Infant mortality rate: NA deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA

Total fertility rate: NA children born/woman

noun: Tokelauan(s)
adjective: Tokelauan

Ethnic groups: Polynesian

Religions: 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

Languages: Tokelauan (a Polynesian language), English


[Top of Page]

Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Tokelau

Data code: TL

Dependency status: territory of New Zealand; note—Tokelauans are drafting a constitution, developing institutions and patterns of self-government as Tokelau moves toward fee association with Wellington

Government type: NA

National capital: none; each atoll has its own administrative center

Administrative divisions: none (territory of New Zealand)

Independence: none (territory of New Zealand)

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

Constitution: administered under the Tokelau Islands Act of 1948, as amended in 1970

Legal system: British and local statutes

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II of the UK (since 6 February 1952); the queen and New Zealand are represented by Administrator Lindsay WATT (since NA March 1993)
head of government: Aliki Faipule FALIMATEAO (since NA 1997)
cabinet: the Council of Faipule, consisting of three elected leaders, one from each atoll; functions as a cabinet
elections: none; the queen is a hereditary monarch; 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

Legislative branch: unicameral General Fono (45 seats—15 from each of the three atolls; members chosen by each atoll's Council of Elders or Taupulega to serve three-year terms); note—the Tokelau Amendment Act of 1996 confers legislative power on the General Fono

Judicial branch: Supreme Court in New Zealand exercises civil and criminal jurisdiction

Political parties and leaders: none

International organization participation: SPC, 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


[Top of Page]

Economy—overview: Tokelau's small size, isolation, and lack of resources greatly restrain economic development and confine agriculture to the subsistence level. The people must rely on aid from New Zealand to maintain public services, 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.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$1.5 million (1993 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: NA%

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,000 (1993 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Inflation rate—consumer price index: NA%

Labor force: NA

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $430,830
expenditures: $2.8 million, including capital expenditures of $37,300 (1987 est.)

Industries: small-scale enterprises for copra production, wood work, plaited craft goods; stamps, coins; fishing

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: NA kW

Electricity—production: NA kWh

Electricity—consumption per capita: NA kWh

Agriculture—products: coconuts, copra, breadfruit, papaya, bananas; pigs, poultry, goats

total value: $98,000 (f.o.b., 1983)
commodities: stamps, copra, handicrafts
partners: NZ

total value: $323,400 (c.i.f., 1983)
commodities: foodstuffs, building materials, fuel
partners: NZ

Debt—external: $0

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $3.7 million from NZ (FY95/96)

Currency: 1 New Zealand dollar (NZ$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: New Zealand dollars (NZ$) per US$1—1.7283 (January 1998), 1.5083 (1997), 1.4543 (1996), 1.5235 (1995), 1.6844 (1994), 1.8495 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March


[Top of Page]

Telephones: NA

Telephone system:
domestic: radiotelephone service between islands
international: radiotelephone service to Western Samoa; government-regulated telephone service (TeleTok), with three satellite earth stations, established in 1997

Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA
note: each atoll has a radio broadcast station of NA type that broadcasts shipping and weather reports

Radios: 1,000 (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: NA

Televisions: NA


[Top of Page]

Railways: 0 km

total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km

Ports and harbors: none; offshore anchorage only

Merchant marine: none

Airports: none; lagoon landings by amphibious aircraft from Western Samoa


[Top of Page]

Military—note: defense is the responsibility of New Zealand

Transnational Issues

[Top of Page]

Disputes—international: none