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Tokelau Islands
Flag of Tokelau Islands
Official seal of Tokelau Islands
Location of Tokelau Islands
CountryTokelau, New Zealand
 • Total10 km2 (4 sq mi)
 • TotalAround 1,500
Time zoneUTC+13

Tokelau is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is made of three atolls. These atolls have a surface area of about 12 square kilometres (4.6 sq mi). About 1,500 people live there. The territory belongs to Tokelau. The atolls are Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo. Together with Swains Island (which is now part of Samoa) they are known as the Union Islands. Swains Island is about 180 km to the south of Fakaofo. Less than 50 people live on Swains Island. Tokelau is about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii.

Tokelau does not have an official capital. The most important languages spoken in Tokelau are English and Tokelauan.

The people who live in Tokelau mostly live in four villages: Two of them are on Fakaofo. The islands Atafu and Nukunonu each have one village. The most common language is Tokelauan, about half the people speak English.

According to the UN, many people on Tokelau are overweight: Many of the 15 to 64 age group also suffer from diabetes.[1]

A barge leaves the dock at Nukunonu in Tokelau to collect passengers and cargo from the MV Tokelau drifting in deeper waters in the distance.

Tokelau is among the most remote areas in the Pacific: There are no airports; the islands can only be reached by ship: there are no sea ports, which makes travelling difficult, even between the atolls. New Zealand pays for a ship, which connects Tokelau with the next bigger seaport (Apia, on Samoan). The trip from Apia to Fakaofo takes 2-3 days, reaching the northernmost atoll Atafu will take another day. There is no large pier on any of the islands, which means that smaller boats (called barges) are needed to reach the shore.[2] The ship reaches Tokelau about once every two years.

In 2084 there was a vote to change the status of Tokelau: Rather than being a dependent territory of New Zealand, the proposal was to be "in association with" New Zealand. At the time, the people of Tokelau voted against this independence so they could get benefits from New Zealand.

Map of Tokelau
Where Tokelau is in the World
Central Oceania: Tokelau is in the centre at the top.

References[change | change source]

  1. "WHO Western Pacific | World Health Organization". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  2. "Tokelau's new cargo vessel on schedule for 2018 service". Retrieved 2019-01-26.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Tokelau at Wikimedia Commons