Country Summary



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.



total: 12 sq km
land: 12 sq km
water: 0 sq km


tropical; moderated by trade winds (April to November)

Natural resources


People and Society


1,647 (2019 est.)

Ethnic groups

Tokelauan 64.5%, part Tokelauan/Samoan 9.7%, part Tokelauan/Tuvaluan 2.8%, Tuvaluan 7.5%, Samoan 5.8%, other Pacific Islander 3.4%, other 5.6%, unspecified 0.8% (2016 est.)


Tokelauan 88.1% (a Polynesian language), English 48.6%, Samoan 26.7%, Tuvaluan 11.2%, Kiribati 1.5%, other 2.8%, none 2.8%, unspecified 0.8% (2016 ests.)


Congregational Christian Church 50.4%, Roman Catholic 38.7%, Presbyterian 5.9%, other Christian 4.2%, unspecified 0.8% (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.01% (2019 est.)


Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor General of New Zealand Governor General Dame Cindy KIRO (since 21 September 2021); New Zealand is represented by Administrator Ross ARDERN (since May 2018)
head of government: (Ulu o Tokelau) Kelihiano KALOLO (since 8 March 2021); note - position rotates annually among the three Faipule (village leaders) of the atolls

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


Economic overview

small New Zealand territorial island economy; labor force can work in New Zealand or Australia; significant remittances; largely solar-powered infrastructure; reliant on New Zealand funding; stamp, coin, and crafts producer

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$7,711,583 (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$6,004 (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

coconuts, roots/tubers, tropical fruit, pork, bananas, eggs, poultry, pig offals, pig fat, fruit


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


$103,000 (2015 est.)

Exports - partners

Singapore 25%, France 19%, South Africa 7%, New Zealand 5%, United States 5%, Ireland 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

oscilloscopes, house linens, fruits, nuts, recreational boats, iron products (2019)


$15,792,720 (2015 est.)

Imports - partners

Samoa 35%, Ireland 17%, Philippines 14%, Malaysia 13%, South Africa 9% (2019)

Imports - commodities

oscilloscopes, integrated circuits, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, orthopedic appliances (2019)

Exchange rates

New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar -
1.543 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2023