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Three scattered atolls in the South Pacific

Tokelau consists of three widely separated atolls in the South Pacific—Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo. Each has a series of islets around a lagoon, which would be at risk from any rise in the sea level.

The people are of Polynesian origin. Most are Christian. They have some subsistence farming though the soil is thin and infertile. The main crops are coconuts, copra, breadfruit, papayas, and bananas. There is also some livestock-raising and fishing, and a few people work in small enterprises producing handicrafts for export.

Tokelau also gains income from issuing licences for fishing in its waters and selling postage stamps, as well as from remittances from overseas workers. But the budget has to be balanced with substantial aid from New Zealand and elsewhere.

Tokelau is a dependent territory of New Zealand and has an appointed administrator. In addition there is an assembly, the General Fono, for which elections are held every three years. However, there are now moves to change Tokelau's status to make it a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand and a new constitution is being drafted.

People:1,400. Most are Polynesian, speaking Tokelauan and English.

Government:Overseas dependency of New Zealand. No capital; there are centres for administration on each island

Economy:GDP per capita: $PPP 1,000. Main exports: stamps, handicrafts

Subjects: Literature.

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