04.11.19, Atafu – The ninth General Fono session of Tokelau’s 9th Government closed Wednesday last
week having made a decision that will change the lives of its people forever.
Caption: General Fono delegates at the final sitting of Tokelau’s 9th Government.
Photo : Tokelau Media Unit.
The Fono agreed on a single site to build the first airstrip for Tokelau. A decision that has taken 45 years of
studies, consultations and reflections.
Ulu o Tokelau, Kelihiano Kalolo highlighted the decision during his closing statement.
“It is important that we make big decisions on the way forward for Tokelau,” he said. “Along this journey we
have made mistakes but that is all part of growing especially when we use the lessons from those mistakes to
help us move forward.”
Administrator of Tokelau, H.E. Ross Ardern agreed, “You made one of the most momentous decisions in my
time as Administrator,” he said. “Thank you for making a decision as a nation.”
Mr Ardern added, “The first airstrip, will be a partnership arrangement between New Zealand and Tokelau.”
The availability of air services has been a long-standing aspiration for Tokelau. It is noteworthy that after
decades of studies and deliberations, it was the visit by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in August, where she
urged leaders to decide on one site for an airstrip, that pushed the decision over the line.
However, the Fono decision still retained the aspiration for the remaining two atolls to have their own
airstrips in the future.
Other key decisions made were in the areas of education, fisheries reform, disability allowances, language,
finance rules and the upcoming 2020 general election. While a number of critical issues such as women’s,
devolution, judiciary, disaster emergency shelter, and self-determination linked to the upcoming 100-year
relationship milestone with New Zealand in 2026 were debated.
Education received wide support. As a result of the successful National Education Summit hosted by Atafu
in August, a number of proposals were unanimously supported. These included endorsements for the Te
Kura correspondence school from New Zealand; New Zealand’s National Certificate of Education
Achievement (NCEA) in Tokelau schools; organizational structure and key staff positions.
A significant developmental milestone was achieved in the management of Tokelau’s vast Offshore Oceanic
resources on 8 September. This was one of the aspects highlighted by Administrator Ardern in his quarterly
Fisheries report to the Fono. He confirmed that more of his powers over Tokelau’s Exclusive Economic
Zone (EEZ) have been delegated to Tokelau’s Fisheries Management Agency (FMA).
One of the delegated powers now allows the FMA Director, Mr Feleti Tulafono to issue fishing licenses and
sell access to both purse seine and longline vessel to Tokelau’s EEZ for the 2020 fishing year.
The Fono also considered the Elections Procedures Manual and directed Electoral officials to consult each of
the atolls on the election procedures and process ahead of the January 2020 elections.
Proceedings were formally closed with Chair, Mr Stan Lopa calling on Fono delegates to sing the Tokelau
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