The Administrator of Tokelau, who is a New Zealand Government official, is responsible for the executive government of Tokelau (refer Administrator's page). The exercise of this power is subject to the control of the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade who holds the final say in major decisions where the New Zealand Government is responsible for Tokelau - such as the approval of the annual budget presented to General Fono (National Assembly).
Nuku-based and national government
Administrative and legislative powers of the Administrator of Tokelau are formally delegated to the three Taupulega (Village Council of Elders) of Tokelau as the highest authority. Authority for national issues is re-delegated to the General Fono to deal with issues beyond those properly undertaken by each village alone. Consistent with this power structure is a devolution of most public service delivery to the villages. In each village a General Manager along with other staff members, including teachers and medical staff, support each Taupulega in their government functions. National-level administration is primarily done by the national public service, most of which is based in Apia.

The General Fono consists of the Faipule (village leader) and Pulenuku (village mayor) of each village along with one delegate for every 100 inhabitants of that village, based on the latest available population count rounded to the nearest 100 inhabitants. There are currently 20 members. Eight ministerial portfolios are held by the six members of the Council for the Ongoing Government for a period of three years.

The Council carries out executive business when the General Fono is not in session, and is required to report back to the General Fono. Council members include the three Faipule and one General Fono delegate from each village who is designated by the Taupulega. The Council is chaired by the Ulu o Tokelau (titular head) whose term is for one year and, on a rotating basis, is the Faipule from Atafu, Nukunonu or Fakaofo.