Use Normal Level of Caution

Tokelau (previously known as the Union Islands and Tokelau Islands) is located in the south Pacific Ocean, halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. It is formed of 3 coral atolls (Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu), with the combined area totally only 10km2. The islands were first settled by Polynesian peoples approximately 1000 years ago and it was not until 1889 that Tokelau became a British protectorate. In 1925, the islands came under New Zealand administration and today, Tokelau is designated as a self-administering territory of New Zealand. The chief of state is the Queen/King of England, represented by a governor general in New Zealand and an administrator to the islands, while the head of government is held by a village leader.

This remote island group has no airport or shipping port (only offshore anchorage points) and is accessed from its closest neighbour, Samoa, by boat (a 24-36 hour journey, one way). Due to its isolated location and lack of natural resources, the people of Tokelau are reliant on subsistence farming and, more importantly, aid from the government of New Zealand. Tokelau is home to approximately 1285 people (2016 estimate); the population is declining due to emigration to New Zealand.

There are no banks on the island; the economy of Tokelau is a cash-based.

The islands are at a low elevation and thus, they are at risk of disappearing due to climate change and rising sea levels. Tokelau experiences a tropical climate; there is a risk of typhoons striking the islands.

Tourism in Tokelau is very limited, however adventurous travellers will enjoy swimming, snorkeling and exploring the pristine water and untouched natural beauty of the islands.

Currency NZD: New Zealand Dollar
Language Tokelauan, English
Capital None, each atoll has its own administrative centre
Recent Alerts None
Latest Alert Not Available

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Tokelau. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of exposure to hepatitis A virus through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B

There is a risk for acquiring hepatitis B.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water Tokelau, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where water and food may not be safe.


Rabies may be present in bats, but has not been reported in domestic or wild animals in Tokelau.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Tokelau.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to hepatitis A, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a risk of infection with hepatitis B, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities, rural areas, or staying with friends and family.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers whose activities or employment may bring them into direct contact with bats (i.e. adventure travellers, veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers, etc.).

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Tokelau.

None required.

Safety and Security in Tokelau

Emergency Numbers

Personal Safety

Most visits to Tokelau are trouble free. However, the traveller should note that basic infrastructure and safety services are extremely limited.

Tokelau is located in an active seismic zone; earthquakes and resulting tsunamis may occur.

Tokelau experience a rainy season from November to April and typhoons may also occur. This could cause extreme flooding, infrastructure damage and personal injury. Monitor weather alerts closely and follow the advice of local authorities. Be aware that travel plans may be disrupted or cancelled in the event of extreme weather.

The fresh water supply on the islands is limited. Bring sufficient water with you.

Ensure travel insurance is purchased before departing as medical assistance is limited. In the case of a medical emergency, evacuation will be required.

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Tokelau since 2007 however, same-sex marriage is still prohibited. As such, LGBTI travellers may experience discrimination when visiting Tokelau.

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