Official Country Name: Tokelau
Region (Map name): Oceania
Population: 1,458
Language(s): Tokelauan, English
Literacy rate: N/A

Tokelau, a group of three low-lying islands in the South Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and New Zealand, is a country in danger. According to a United Nations report, the islands are at risk of disappearing into the ocean if global warming continues to raise sea levels. Formerly known as the Union Islands, Tokelau was a British Protectorate until 1926, when administrative control was transferred to New Zealand.

The population is approximately 1,500, and most inhabitants speak English and Tokelauan, a Polynesian dialect. The chief of state is the British monarch, represented in New Zealand by an administrator of Tokelau. Since 1999, Tokelauans have been moving towards self-government by drafting a constitution and developing the necessary administrative infrastructure. Geographic isolation and lack of resources limit economic activity to subsistence agriculture. The country's main source of income is government aid from New Zealand, but Tokelauans also sell postage stamps, souvenir coins and handicrafts.

Freedom of the press and speech are respected. There is no daily newspaper. Tugaki a Nukunonu, a bimonthly free publication, features local news, politics and events. It publishes in English and Tokelauan and enjoys a circulation of around 100.

There are television or radio stations on the island, but each atoll periodically uses the radio to broadcast shipping and weather reports. There are 1,000 radios and one Internet service provider.


Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Tokelau." The World Factbook 2001. Available from .

CocoNET Wireless. The University of Queensland, Australia. (1995). Available from coconet/tok.html .

"Country Profile." , 2002. Available from Oceania/Tokelau_Islands/ .

"New Zealand." Freedom House, 2001. Available from .

Jenny B. Davis

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