The director of Massey University's Pasifika Centre says the New Zealand government needs to talk with Tokelau about air services to the atolls.
Malakai Koloamatangi's comments come as court action is still underway over the island's purchase of two helicopters as part of an interim air service.
The previous government had expressed strong opposition to the helicopter buy, prompting two inquiries and the helicopters are being sold.
Two staffers have been blamed and they are seeking legal redress over what they assert is unjust dismissal.
But Dr Koloamatangi told Don Wiseman such a service would fill a vital role.