22 Jan 2020

Tokelau prepares to head to the polls

11:13 am on 22 January 2020

Residents of Tokelau are heading to the polls on Thursday to elect the territory's tenth government.

Ulu o Tokelau.

Ulu o Tokelau, Kelihiano Kalolo, at COP 25 last year. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Jamie Tahana

Tokelau residents on the atolls of Fakaofo, Nukunonu and Atafu - as well as tagata Tokelau based in Apia, Samoa - are eligible to cast votes.

In his final duty as Ulu o Tokelau, Kelihiano Kalolo on behalf of the government, or council, urged voters to make every effort to participate.

He also implored residents to maintain their record of past elections, with peaceful and orderly conduct.

Five of the current six-member council will seek re-election.

"On behalf of the council and elected members, I wish all candidates the best in their aspirations to serve our small nation," he said in a statement.

"We also acknowledge the hard work of the village election committees, the national electoral office and all those involved in preparing our communities to take part in a fair and peaceful election. Tokelau mo te Atua."

As part of the ninth Tokelau government over the past three years, he said much had been achieved in terms of development and infrastructure.

He also underlined the "re-consolidation of the relationship" between Tokelau and New Zealand highlighted by the visit of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to Tokelau last year.