Tokelau History

Tokelau History and Geography

According to abbreviationfinder, Tokelau is a territory of New Zealand, consisting of three tropical coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean. The United Nations General Assembly designated Tokelau a Non-Self-Governing Territory. Until 1976 the official name was the Tokelau Islands. Tokelau is sometimes mentioned by Westerners for its age, colonial name for The Union Islands. See Tokelau facts.


The first European to visit the islands was the English explorer John Byron, in 1765 ; the absence of great wealth did not arouse interest in the British crown. It was not until 1877 that the islands became an English protectorate. Great Britain annexed them to the crown in 1916 and included them as part of the colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands (present-day Kiribati and Tuvalu, respectively).

In 1925 the United Kingdom transferred administrative control of the islands to Aotearoa (New Zealand). In 1946 the group received its current name of Tokelau and in 1958 sovereignty was definitively granted to Aotearoa.

It is basically an island larger than the Principality of Sealand, it is home to more than 1,700 residents, of which 800 are distributors of the aforementioned domain, 30 are uncyclopedists, 800 are homeless, 10 are Wikipedians, 20 are geeks, and 10 are working children. at the Nike factory from 9:00 to 5:00 AM, so life in Tokelau is sooo normal.

Tokelau, “the land of the great white cloud”, was populated by Maori who arrived from Polynesia around the 9th century. Over time an original culture developed, based on tribal organization and a great affinity with the land. The Maori have appointed themselves guardians of the land for future generations.

A United Nations report on the consequences of the so-called “greenhouse effect” (warming of the Earth’s atmosphere as a result of pollution), included Tokelau in the list of islands that could disappear under the sea in the 21st century, if not They take drastic measures to stop the contamination process.


Tokelau is made up of three atolls in the South Pacific Ocean between 171 ° and 173 ° W in longitude and 8 ° and 10 ° S in latitude, roughly halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. They are located about 500 km north of Samoa. The islands are Atafu, once known as the Duke of York Group, Nukunonu, also the Duke of Clarence Group, and Fakaofo, once Bowditch Island. Between them they comprise an area of 10.8 km ². There are no ports.

Tokelau is located in the typhoon belt of the Pacific Ocean. A fourth island that is culturally, historically, and geographically, but not politically, part of the Tokelau chain is Swains Island (Olohega), under United States control since around 1900 and administered as part of American Samoa since 1925. The island it was claimed by the United States under the Guano Islands Act, as well as the other three Tokelau islands, which it claims were ceded to Tokelau under a treaty in 1979.

In the Tokelau draft constitution subject to the Tokelau self-determination referendum in 2006, Olohega is claimed as part of Tokelau, a waiver claim in the same 1979 treaty that established a border between American Samoa and Tokelau.

Tokelau to Swains’ claim is generally comparable to the Marshall Islands “claim for the United States administered by Wake Island, but the resurgence of this somewhat latent issue has been an unintended consequence of the United Nations” recent efforts to promote decolonization. in Tokelau. In essence, Tokelauans have been somewhat reluctant to advance their national identity in the political sphere: recent decolonization movements have been driven mainly from abroad for ideological reasons. But at the same time, the Tokelau people are reluctant to deny their common cultural identity with island Swains who speak their language.

Against Tokelau’s claim in the draft constitution that Swains Island is part of Tokelau is the doubt saying symbolism of the three stars on the Tokelau flag, representing Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo, that is, not including Swains Island. (Olohega). The suggestion that could be inferred from this is that, in identifying with a three-star flag, Tokelau’s independence supporters did not actively await Swains Island to be incorporated into any independent Tokelau state that might emerge in the future. foreseeable.

In turn, against this it can be argued that, since the flag of Tokelau is currently neither official, nor the emblem of an internationally recognized sovereign state, then the number of stars, and the islands they represent, cannot be considered as a conclusive indication as to the territorial aspirations of the Tokelau nationalists. As an example, in support of this is the fact that in the 1990s Tuvalu’s neighbors, Tokelau with which it has cultural affinities, varied the number of stars – representing the islands in different official versions of their national flag.

Tokelau is at a totally different time than most of the New Zealand area, they are 10 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), instead of 12 hours ahead, that is, 22 hours apart for much of the year New Zealand has daylight saving time (DST) for part of the year, while Tokelau does not participate. Tokelau is in the same time zone as the Cook Islands and Hawaii instead of neighboring Samoa and American Samoa.

Tokelau History

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