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Tokelau (New Zealand)

Tokelau Islands, formerly Union Islands

Last modified: 2003-12-20 by santiago dotor
Keywords: tokelau | new zealand | union islands | proposal | union jack | canton | stars: 4 (red) | stars: 3 (white) | circles: 3 (broken) | palm tree (green) |
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[New Zealand]
by António Martins and Zeljko Heimer

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The following information is from the US Department of the Interior on islands of disputed sovereignty in the 20th century. The document appears to be from early 1998, so there may be some changes. The US relinquished claims to 3 atolls in the Union (Tokelau) Islands in a treaty signed December 2, 1980 between the United States and New Zealand. The treaty, signed in Atufu Atoll was effective September 3, 1983. These atolls were: Atafu, Fafaofu and Nukunono.

Phil Nelson, 27 April 2000

Summarized from the CIA World Factbook:

A group of three atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand, with an area of 10 sq km and a population of ca. 1,458. Originally settled by Polynesian emigrants from surrounding island groups, the Tokelau Islands were made a British protectorate in 1889. They were transferred to New Zealand administration in 1925 (...), administered under the Tokelau Islands Act of 1948, as amended in 1970. The Tokelau Amendment Act of 1996 confers legislative power on the unicameral General Fono. Dependency status: territory of New Zealand. The Queen and New Zealand are represented by an Administrator. Tokelauans are drafting a constitution, developing institutions and patterns of self-government as Tokelau moves toward free association with New Zealand.

Santiago Dotor, 26 January 2001

Unofficial 1989 Proposal

[Unofficial 1989 proposal (Tokelau)]
by Mark Sensen

As far as I know, the blue flag of Tokelau is only a proposal made for some sport event in 1980's. The official flag should be the New Zealand one. However, Tokelau is a self-governing territory now, and I guess the flag (possibly the flag) will be adopted.

Jan Zrzavy, 4 March 1998

The Flags of Paradise 1996 chart shows the blue flag for Tokelau with the broken yellow rings (a coral atoll with two entrances?) and the caption, "Tokelau Islands NZ Territory circa 1989-present (unofficial)". I suspect they are close enough to the scene to know that the flag is in actual use.

John Ayer, 5 March 1998

Jos Poels told me some years ago he had contacted the authorities on Tokelau, and they confirmed the flag is not adopted officially.

Mark Sensen, 13 April 1999

Humberto Brumatti, a Tokelau-fan from Argentina visited FOTW and e-mailed me. I asked him for further information on the officialness of the flag (tk.gif) and its appearance or not on Tokelau stamps. This is his answer, abridged and translated:

Tokelau is undergoing an institutional change process where the UN plays a role. Its 1500 inhabitants, 10 and no important income source (as is the case with Nauru) make impossible its independence from New Zealand, and the islanders are very comfortable with the current situation, with which they assume more self-determination rights in political issues, while New Zealand covers its broad economical deficit and absorbs constant immigration originating in a population excess.

Up to the last Report of the Administrator of Tokelau for the year ended 30 June 1997 (published almost one [two?] and a half years [sic] later), no indication exists on the approval of a flag of their own.

Post stamps were issued up to the early nineties by the New Zealand Post, who in 1988 issued a series of stamps in one of which appeared the New Zealand flag. Later on, the issuing authority was assumed by the Office for the Tokelau Affairs, based up to recently at Apia (Western Samoa) and currently at Tokelau. I have even the most recently issued stamps, and none of them shows the flag in question [tk.gif].

Consulting the Office is useless. When it was managed by a New Zealand official, they kindly supplied any requested information and they even had an excellent periodical magazine, but since the islanders took over they have greatly neglected this important aspect of their [public] relations.

Santiago Dotor, 23 November 1999

Regarding the statement made by Jan Zrzavy that Tokelau is now a self-governing territory, I wish to firmly state that Tokelau is not, the political status that we are currently experiencing is an attempt towards self-governance. Tokelau is still very much a colony of New Zealand, and thus the official flag of Tokelau is the New Zealand flag (for records sake).

V.M. Lui, 18 August 2000

When I visited the atolls in 1983 that the only flag visible was that of New Zealand.

Christopher Vance, 19 August 2000

I have seen the Tokelau flag used at New Zealand's national museum (Te Papa Tongarewa, in Wellington), displayed in their Pacific Hall, but I am very doubtful of whether it is used by the islanders themselves.

James Dignan, 16 December 2003