New Zealand Aid Programme allocated funding

New Zealand Aid Programme transparency


  • Located 500 kilometres north of Samoa, Tokelau is accessible only by boat from Apia, Samoa
  • Tokelau is a non-self governing territory of New Zealand, and has a population of 1,411 people (Oct 2011 Census).
  • The population is spread over three small atolls, Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo, with a total land area of 12km collectively. The three atolls are each separated by 60 kilometres of open ocean.
  • Tokelau nationals are New Zealand citizens and have open access to work and residency in New Zealand. Although it remains a territory of New Zealand, in recent years Tokelau has taken on increasing levels of responsibility for its own administration. In 2003 it began to take full responsibility for managing its national budget. In 2004 the Administrator of Tokelau (based at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington) formally delegated his administrative powers to the Council of the Ongoing Government of Tokelau. The Administrator remains responsible for oversight of assistance as well as political developments affecting the atolls.
  • Tokelau operates a system that has been described as 'coral up' government. In this system, Taupulega (village councils of elders on each atoll) are the ultimate source of authority. The Taupulega direct village activities and in turn delegate their authority on national issues to the General Fono. The General Fono is made up of delegates from each atoll including three Faipule (Village Heads) who rotate the leadership of the country, a position known as the Ulu-o-Tokelau.
  • Access latest census results for Tokealu

Development context

Tokelau is dependent on New Zealand assistance, which makes up some 90 per cent of its budget. Tokelau is working towards generating greater income from commercial activities especially through development of its fisheries sector as well as smaller income streams such as stamps and coins. In future, Tokelau will access revenue from the Tokelau International Trust Fund, established with New Zealand in 2004.

New Zealand Aid Programme activities

New Zealand’s development support for Tokelau for 2011/12 is NZ$17million.

Support to Tokelau is provided in accordance with New Zealand's constitutional obligations outlined in the 2003 Joint Statement of the Principles of Partnership between New Zealand and Tokelau (Principles of Partnership).

The New Zealand and Tokelau governments have signed a  Joint Commitment for Development (PDF 82KB) draws from the Tokelau National Strategic Plan (2010-15) and establishes a shared vision for achieving long-term outcomes.

Tokelau Renewable Energy Project

Tokelau is receiving an advance in funding from New Zealand to address its almost 100% total reliance on fossil fuels. Together, Tokelau and New Zealand are initiating a solar power project which is expected to make Tokelau a leader in renewable energy solutions in the Pacific. This project is being carried out by New Zealand company, PowerSmart. By the end of 2012, the three atolls of Tokelau will be using almost entirely renewable sources of energy to generate electricity.

Read more about this exciting project.

Budget Support

Since July 2003, New Zealand has provided the Government of Tokelau with funding to manage and supplement its government recurrent budget and resources, including developing and maintaining infrastructure, providing education and health services and capacity, and undertaking economic development activities.


Tokelau is reliant on shipping to connect with the wider world. New Zealand and Tokelau are working to ensure reliable, adequate and efficient transportation. While New Zealand is supporting Tokelau to build a new passenger ship, charter services are in place to provide continuity of services in the interim. Work on improvements in infrastructure between ship to shore are also ensuring maritime safety.

Education and Health

With support from New Zealand, Tokelau has been building a new hospital on Nukunonu, and new schools on Fakaofo and Atafu to replace the existing aging infrastructure. New Zealand is also providing technical assistance to support numeracy and literacy development in schools.