Updated: Mar 26
Tokelau, known previously as the Union Islands and known officially as the Tokelau Islands.
Tokelau lies north of the Samoan Islands, east of Tuvalu, south of the Phoenix Islands, southwest of the more distant Line Islands, and northwest of the Cook Islands.
Tokelau is a dependent territory of New Zealand in the southern Pacific Ocean. It consists of three tropical coral atolls: Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo. In addition to these three, Swains Island, which forms part of the same archipelago, is the subject of an ongoing territorial dispute; it is currently administered by the United States as part of American Samoa.
Nukunonu is the largest atoll within Tokelau.
Reason for Naming the country
Tokelau is a word meaning "north wind" in the native Tokelau language. The Tokelau islands were named the Union Islands and Union Group by European explorers at an earlier time. Tokelau Islands was adopted as the islands’ official name in 1946. The name was officially shortened to Tokelau on 9 December 1976.
The flag was adopted on 7 September 2009.
As Tokelau is a dependent territory of New Zealand, the flag of New Zealand has been used as the official flag for Tokelau, in May 2008 a unique flag and national emblem for Tokelau has been approved, This flag has not yet been widely used for official purposes, but an official launch of the new flag was planned for October 2009.
The flag has a blue background with a yellow stylized Tokelauan canoe in full sail, within the space near the hoist is a southern cross of four small white five-pointed stars.
Tokelau's Flag depicts a Tokelauan canoe sailing towards the manu (Southern Cross). The canoe represents Tokelau’s journey towards finding the best governance structure for its people; the Southern Cross represents a navigational aid for the journey for fishermen and the canoe on the right.
The white stars of the Southern Cross are a symbol of Christianity, an important part of everyday life in Tokelau. White also signifies the cooperation and unity among the atolls of Tokelau and a shared aspiration to secure a better life for Tokelauans.
Yellow signifies a happy, peaceful community.
Blue signifies the ocean on which Tokelauans depend for their livelihood and is also the color of the sky which holds the stars that direct Tokelau’s people.
Tokelau has two official languages: Tokelauan and English. Over 90% of the population speaks Tokelauan, and just under 60% speak English. Also, 45.8% of the population speak Samoan, and small percentages of the population speak Tuvaluan and Kiribati.
Tokelau is predominantly Christian. On the island of Atafu, almost all inhabitants are members of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (corresponding to 62% of the total population). On Nukunonu almost all are Roman Catholic (corresponding to 34% of the total population). On Fakaofo both denominations are present with the Congregational Christian Church predominant. 5% of the population follow other religions.
New Zealand dollar (NZ$) (NZD).
Devolved parliamentary dependency under a constitutional monarchy.
Tokelau climate is hot, humid, and rainy throughout the year.
The temperature is very stable: in the northernmost atoll of Atafu, the daily average is around 28 °C (82 °F) throughout the year, while further from the Equator, in the southernmost atolls of Nukunonu and Fakaofo, it goes down to 27 °C (81 °F).
The best time to visit the Tokelaus runs from mid-May to October, since it is the driest period of the year and out of the cyclone season, although showers and thunderstorms are still frequent, for greater security, you can avoid the period to July-mid-October.