CountryDependency of New Zealand
Description & main attractions
Tokelau lies just north of Samoa and consists of three small low coral atolls: Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo. One of the least visited countries in the South Pacific, only a few yachts make their way to this isolated group of atolls, which lack natural harbours and for most of the year are completely cut off from the outside world. Its total land mass is about 12 km2 with the highest point only 3 metres above sea level.
Polynesian legend says that the Maui brothers pulled the three islands out of the sea while fishing. The islands were rarely visited until the 1840s. In 1889 Britain claimed jurisdiction over them, but in 1925 administration was transferred to New Zealand, an arrangement that continues to this day.
There is some internal autonomy, but referenda held in 2006 and 2007 to change the status of the islands to one of free association with New Zealand failed. About 1,400 people live in Tokelau, with many more living in New Zealand. Tokelauan and English are spoken. There is no administrative centre, with each island having a separate local government. External affairs are run by the Tokelau Liaison office in Apia, Western Samoa.
The Government of Tokelau solar project has become a leader in renewable energy with solar photovoltaics (PV) now providing 90% of the atolls’ electricity needs.
The climate is tropical, with little variation from the 28°C/82°F annual average temperature.
From May to September the islands are under the influence of the southeast trade winds. Tokelau is at the northern edge of the main hurricane belt, but tropical storms sometimes sweep through between November and April.
Host marina / Port information
There are no harbour facilities and you can only anchor in the lee of the reef. The anchorage due west of Fakaofo Islet is exposed to the southeast trade winds, and fairly often conditions are not suitable for anchoring. An alternative anchorage, recommended by islanders, is northwest of the island, off Fenua Fala Islet. Channels have been blasted into each lagoon and they are accessible by dinghy.
Location on the map
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