Tokelau’s first parliamentary sitting for 2021 opens in Atafu

08.03.21, Atafu, Tokelau – The Tenth Government of Tokelau officially opened its first parliamentary session for
2021 today. The main event was the inauguration of Hon Kelihiano Kalolo, Faipule of Atafu, who takes over the Ulu
o Tokelau role for 2021 from Fakaofo Faipule, Fofo Esera Tuisano.

In his inauguration address, Hon Kalolo acknowledged the strong relationship between Tokelau and New Zealand.

“It is during challenging times such as these that our relationship and nationhood building work show its true value.
On that basis I wish to extend Tokelau’s best wishes for 2021 to Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
and warm greetings to Prime Minister Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern.

“We look forward to continuing our work together for the people of Tokelau as our relationship nears its 100-year
anniversary in 2026.”

Hon Kalolo also paid tribute to the support he received from the Taupulega and communities of Fakaofo, Nukunonu
and Atafu.

Outgoing Ulu o Tokelau, Hon Fofo Tuisano reminisced about his term that was dominated by the response to protect
Tokelau from COVID-19 while still maintaining essential services.

“2020 has been a challenging year,” he said. “I had only been elected for the first time as Faipule of Fakaofo and
straight to the Ulu of Tokelau office in a global pandemic year that changed the norm for most countries in the world
including Tokelau,” he reflected. 

“It has been a difficult year but we successfully repatriated over 100 of our families back to Tokelau and held-on to
be one of the few countries in the world that is free COVID19"

Joining via Zoom from New Zealand, Administrator for Tokelau, H.E. Ross Ardern acknowledged the complex work
and leadership of the Ulu, Council and COVID-19 committee to keep Tokelau safe from the pandemic. He passed on
to the Fono the best wishes of Foreign Affairs minister, Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Jacinda

He re-affirmed the close working partnership between the two countries during these challenging times with a
special mention of the New Zealand government’s commitment to vaccine access for Tokelau in the near future.

“In a few weeks the New Zealand Government will consider further details on how we will provide access to the
Covid 19 vaccine in Tokelau,” he stated.

“The financial numbers around this support should not be the primary talking point. For me it is about a willingness
to assist Tokelau in a meaningful manner that demonstrates the practicalities of the partnership.”

The General Fono is expected to conclude its deliberations by Wednesday this week.

For more information contact: Mr Aukusitino Vitale, GM, National, 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)
2021 Kelihiano Kalolo (Atafu)


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. Departing from Apia it takes 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 318,000 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 its 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 although work on an airstrip to be located on Nukunonu is in progress. Currently,
access is by ship only, through the Port of Apia, Samoa.

There are approximately 8000 Tokelauans living in New Zealand, and smaller communities live in Australia,
American Samoa, Samoa, Rapa Nui, and Hawaii.