Tokelau’s 10th Government opens its First Session

Newly elected Council members at the flag raising for the Inauguration of the Ulu o Tokelau ceremony-708
Newly elected Council members at the flag raising for the Inauguration of the Ulu o Tokelau ceremony. Photo Hina Iosefo,
Nukunonu Media Unit

12.03.20, Fakaofo, Tokelau – The Tenth Government of Tokelau officially opened its first session proceedings this
week. Newly inaugurated Ulu o Tokelau, Hon Fofo Filipo Tuisano and 21 Fono delegates settled down to the
business of governance but absent the Administrator for Tokelau, H.E. Ross Ardern and New Zealand officials who
stood down due to confirmation the coronavirus has spread to New Zealand.

The main items on the agenda for the three to four-day session include deliberation on: Coronavirus COVID-19;
Budget Mid-Term Review and financial rule; the roles of General Fono delegates in-between the three parliamentary
sessions each year; and announcement of ministerial portfolios for the six Council Members. Of special interest is
the Administrator of Tokelau’s report on the management and impacts on revenue from the Tuna resource; the
launch of digital resources by the Education department – the Te Tautai Ake II Series; and the appointment of the
new Commissioner for the Public Service.

Ulu o Tokelau, Hon Fofo Tuisano and First Lady Maihe Tuisano copy-371
Ulu o Tokelau, Hon Fofo Tuisano and First Lady Maihe Tuisano. Photo: Litia Maiava, Tokelau Media Unit

On Monday, one of the important annual events of the Tokelau calendar took centre stage – Fakanofoga ote Ulu o
Tokelau [Inauguration of the Ulu o Tokelau]. A bestowment for first-time elected parliamentarian Hon Fofo Filipo
Tuisano. He takes over from Hon. Afega Gaualofa as Faipule for Fakaofo.

In his inaugural address, Hon Fofo says one of his aspirations is to raise up the voice of the ordinary Tokelauan.
“I do not have much to say as I am also new. But the importance of what I want to say lies within this title: ‘TE LEO

“That is, for the ordinary Tokelau, I want to try hard for them while I am Ulu. For their voices to be heard. Those are
the Tokelauans who are not really thought about in our decision making for the development of Tokelau. Those
Tokelauans who don't say much, but happy to work hard without complaining, simply because they are happy in
their environment and their current situation.”

The Fakanofoga o te Ulu ceremony also formally opened the first General Fono session for Tokelau’s 10th

The 2020 Fono served to highlight two characteristics of today’s global society and Tokelau’s place in it. Firstly, the
impact of COVID-19 preventing the participation of New Zealand’s delegation to Tokelau. And secondly, the
ubiquity of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – digital technology – to ‘livestream’ the Administrator for Tokelau’s
video address to the Fono. However, the novel state of Tokelau’s telecommunications capability did not allow the
‘live’ broadcast to take place but nevertheless, Mr Ardern’s translated speech was read out in its stead. His recorded
video message is available on the Administrator for Tokelau’s Facebook Page here.

Mr Ardern reaffirmed New Zealand’s support for Tokelau at the highest level.

“I bring to you all the warm greetings of the both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters.
Both remain intently interested in what is taking place in Tokelau and I ma required to report to them on a regular

The General Fono is expected to conclude its deliberations by the end of this week.

For more information contact: Mr Aukusitino Vitale, GM, Office of the Council for the Ongoing Government of
Tokelau | Email:

This is the first year of the Tenth National Government of Tokelau - the first was established in 1993.
The list of Ulu-o-Tokelau:
1993 Salesio Lui (Nukunonu)
1994 Keli Neemia (Fakaofo)
1995 Lepaio Simi (Atafu)
1996 Pio Tuia (Nukunonu)
1997 Falima Teao (Fakaofo)
1998 Kuresa Nasau (Atafu)
1999 Pio Tuia (Nukunonu)
2000 Kolouei O'Brien (Fakaofo)
2001 Kuresa Nasau (Atafu)
2002 Pio Tuia (Nukunonu)
2003 Kolouei O'Brien (Fakaofo)
2004 Kuresa Nasau / Patuki Isaako (Atafu)
2005 Pio Tuia (Nukunonu)
2006 Kolouei O'Brien (Fakaofo)
2007 Kuresa Nasau (Atafu)
2008 Pio Tuia (Nukunonu)
2009 Foua Toloa (Fakaofo)
2010 Kuresa Nasau (Atafu)
2011 Foua Toloa (Fakaofo)
2012 Kelihiano Kalolo (Atafu)
2013 Salesio Lui (Nukunonu)
2014 Kuresa Nasau (Atafu)
2015 Siopili Perez (Nukunonu)
2016 Afega Gaualofa (Fakaofo)
2017 Siopili Perez (Nukunonu)
2018 Afega Gaualofa (Fakaofo)
2019 Kelihiano Kalolo (Atafu)
2020 Fofo Filipo Tuisano (Fakaofo)


Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory of New Zealand. It is located in the Pacific Ocean north of Samoa and
south of the Equator (9 00 S, 172 00 W). It is only accessible by boat, taking an estimated 28hours to reach the
closest atoll, Fakaofo, a further three hours to Nukunonu, and another six hours to Atafu.

It is made up of the three small atolls named above, separated from each other by high seas. The total land area is
approximately 12 km2. The total sea area of the exclusive economic zone is approximately 518,000 km2. The height
above sea level is between 3-5 meters, the maximum width is 200 meters. Tokelau is therefore particularly
vulnerable to natural disasters and impacts of climate change such as sea-level rise.

The people of Tokelau are New Zealand citizens. Their relationship hailed by the United Nations as a model for
other territories and administering countries to follow.

The population of 1499 (2016 census) is spread approximately equally among the three atolls (Atafu (541); Fakaofo
(506) and Nukunonu (452). The traditional lifestyle was subsistence but Tokelau has moved to a cash economy. The
only natural resource of any current economic significance is the fishery of the exclusive economic zone.

Tokelau has no main town; each island has its own administrative centre, hospital, school and basic infrastructure.
There are no airstrips or harbours. Access is by ship only, through the Port of Apia, Samoa.

There are approximately 7000 Tokelauans living in New Zealand, and smaller communities live in Australia,
American Samoa, Samoa, Rapa Nui, and Hawaii.