Tokelau

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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.

Geography

Location

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

Area 242/257

total: 12 sq km

land: 12 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

about 17 times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

101 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; moderated by trade winds (April to November)

Terrain

low-lying coral atolls enclosing large lagoons

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: unnamed location 5 m

Natural resources

NEGL

Land use

agricultural land: 60%

arable land 0%; permanent crops 60%; permanent pasture 0%

forest: 0%

other: 40% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

NA

Natural hazards

lies in Pacific typhoon belt

Environment - current issues

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

Geography - note

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

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Tokelauan(s)

adjective: Tokelauan

Ethnic groups

Tokelauan 65.3%, part Tokelauan/Samoan 8.7%, part Tokelauan/Tuvaluan 6.9%, part Tokelauan/other Pacific islander 1.9%, part Tokelauan/European 1%, Samoan 6.7%, Tuvaluan 2.8%, other Pacific islander 1.1%, other 5.1%, unspecified 0.4% (2011 est.)

Languages

Tokelauan 93.5% (a Polynesian language), English 58.9%, Samoan 45.5%, Tuvaluan 11.6%, Kiribati 2.7%, other 2.5%, none 4.1%, unspecified 0.6%

ntoe: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2011 ests.)

Religions

Congregational Christian Church 58.2%, Roman Catholic 36.6%, Presbyterian 1.8%, other Christian 2.8%, Spiritualism and New Age 0.1%, unspecified 0.5% (2011 est.)

Population 234/238

1,337 (July 2014 est.)

Population growth rate 200/233

-0.01% (2014 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 0% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio

NA

Infant mortality rate

total: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Life expectancy at birth

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

Total fertility rate

NA

Drinking water source

improved:

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved:

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

rural: 90.5% of population

total: 90.5% of population

unimproved:

rural: 9.5% of population

total: 9.5% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Education expenditures

NA

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Tokelau

Government type

NA

Capital

none; each atoll has its own administrative center

time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

none (territory of New Zealand)

Independence

none (territory of New Zealand)

National holiday

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

Constitution

many previous; latest effective 1 January 1949 (Tokelau Islands Act 1948); amended many times, last in 2007 (2015)

Legal system

common law system of New Zealand

Citizenship

see New Zealand

Suffrage

21 years of age; universal

Executive branch

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: Siopili PEREZ (since 23 February 2015); note - position rotates annually among the 3 Faipule (village leaders)

cabinet: the Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau functions as a cabinet; consists of 3 Faipule (village leaders) and 3 Pulenuku (village mayors)

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; administrator appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in New Zealand; head of government chosen from the Council of Faipule to serve a 1-year term

Legislative branch

description: unicameral General Fono (20 seats apportioned by island - Atafu 7, Fakaofo 7, Nukunonu 6; members directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 3-year terms); note - the Tokelau Amendment Act of 1996 confers limited legislative power to the General Fono

elections: last held on 23 January 2014 (next to be held in 2017)

election results: independent 20

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal in New Zealand (consists of the court president and 8 judges sitting in 3- or 5-judge panels depending on the case)

judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Judicial Selection Committee and approved by three-quarters majority of the Parliament; judge tenure NA

subordinate courts: High Court, in New Zealand; Council of Elders or Taupulega

Political parties and leaders

none

Political pressure groups and leaders

none

International organization participation

PIF (associate member), SPC, UNESCO (associate), UPU

Flag description

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, in conjunction with the canoe, symbolizes the country navigating into the future; the color yellow indicates happiness and peace, and the blue field represents the ocean on which the community relies

National symbol(s)

tuluma (fishing tackle box); national colors: blue, yellow, white

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)

Economy

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 $15 million annually in FY12/13 and FY13/14 - to maintain public services. New Zealand's support amounts to 80% of Tokelau's recurrent government budget. An international trust fund, currently worth nearly $32 million, was established in 2004 by New Zealand 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 230/230

$1.5 million (1993 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$NA

GDP - real growth rate

NA%

GDP - per capita (PPP) 223/230

$1,000 (1993 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: NA%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Agriculture - products

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

Industries

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

Labor force 232/233

440 (2001)

Unemployment rate

NA%

Population below poverty line

NA%

Budget

revenues: $430,800

expenditures: $2.8 million (1987 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

NA%

Exports 224/224

$0 (2002)

Exports - commodities

stamps, copra, handicrafts

Imports 223/223

$969,200 (2002)

Imports - commodities

foodstuffs, building materials, fuel

Exchange rates

New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar -

1.45 (2015)

1.22 (2013)

1.22 (2013)

1.23 (2012)

1.26 (2011)

Energy

Crude oil - proved reserves 197/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Communications

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 (2009)

Broadcast media

no TV stations; each atoll operates a radio service that provides shipping news and weather reports (2009)

Radio broadcast stations

AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA (one radio station provides service to all islands) (2002)

Internet country code

.tk

Internet hosts 162/232

2,069 (2012)

Internet users 215/217

total: 800

percent of population: 55.4% (2008)

Transportation

Ports and terminals

none; offshore anchorage only

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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