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Overview

The Tokelau Islands, a dependency of New Zealand 310 miles north of Samoa, requires motivation to visit. There's no airport and the only access is on a monthly supply ship from Apia, Samoa. Cabin space is limited on the ship and deck passage may be all that's available for the two-day trip. Tokelau consists of three atolls, Atafu, Fakaofo, and Nukunonu. The ship calls at all three, but if you disembark on one, you could be there for a month or more. The Polynesian inhabitants live on New Zealand government aid and outboards replaced outriggers in the lagoons long ago. The islanders also fish, raise pigs, and make copra from fallen coconuts ...

The Tokelau Islands, a dependency of New Zealand 310 miles north of Samoa, requires motivation to visit. There's no airport and the only access is on a monthly supply ship from Apia, Samoa. Cabin space is limited on the ship and deck passage may be all that's available for the two-day trip. Tokelau consists of three atolls, Atafu, Fakaofo, and Nukunonu. The ship calls at all three, but if you disembark on one, you could be there for a month or more. The Polynesian inhabitants live on New Zealand government aid and outboards replaced outriggers in the lagoons long ago. The islanders also fish, raise pigs, and make copra from fallen coconuts collected on the outer islets of the atolls. On special occasions, they demonstrate their talent for singing and dancing. It's an interesting place to come if you don't mind sacrificing some of your privacy. You'll soon make friends and be invited on fishing trips or coconut-cutting expeditions to plantations on islets around the lagoon.

David Stanley
About the Expert

David Stanley is the author of the Moon guidebooks Fiji, Tahiti, and South Pacific. He has been writing about the Pacific since 1979.

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David Stanley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Tokelau is a territory of New Zealand that consists of three tropical coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean.
  • Language: Tokelauan, English
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Tokelau is less hot and humid from May to October with heavy rain possible anytime.