Tokelauan people


Tokelauan people
Tokelau dancers (7754981394) (2).jpg
Tokelauan dancers
Total population
Regions with significant populations

 New Zealand

Tokelauan, English
Congregationalism, Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Polynesians, Samoans, Tuvaluans

Tokelauan people are the indigenous Polynesian people of Tokelau, an island group in Polynesia, in the Pacific Ocean. The native language of the Tokelauans is Tokelauan.

The group's home islands are a dependent territory of New Zealand. 77% of Tokelau's population of 1,650 claims Tokelauan ancestry,[1] while 8,676 Tokelauans live in New Zealand.[2] A small number also live in Samoa.


The Tokelauan language is part of the Polynesian language family. Most Tokelauans are fluent in both English and Tokelauan.[3] There are approximately 4,000 speakers, the majority of whom live in New Zealand.[4]


The majority of Tokelauans live in New Zealand, concentrated in the large Wellington suburbs of the Hutt Valley and Porirua,[5] as well as Auckland.[2] They are the sixth largest Pacific Islander ethnic group in New Zealand, and one of the most socio-economically deprived.[5] Migration to New Zealand began in the 1950s and increased in the 1960s under a government resettlement scheme driven by fears of overpopulation and a tropical cyclone striking the islands.[6] The New Zealand-based population exceeded that of Tokelau in 1976, and immigration declined after that point.[6]



As of 2019, 50.4% of people belong to Congregational Christian Church while 38.7% belong to Catholic church. The rest of the population adhere to various Christian denomination such as Presbyterian.[1] Roman Catholic is mostly practiced in Nukunonu whereas inhabitants of the islands of Atafu and Fakaofo adhere to the Congregationalism. Prior to the arrival of Christianity, Tokelauans worshiped a god named Tui Tokelau.


Netball, rugby, football and cricket are popular in Tokelau. Tokelau Games are held yearly.


  1. ^ a b "Tokelau". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Tokelauan ethnic group". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  3. ^ Hunstman, Judith. "Culture of Tokelau". World Culture Encyclopedia. Advameg.
  4. ^ John Middleton (28 October 2020). "Is Tokelauan facing extinction?". University of Auckland. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Living the Tokelauan Way in New Zealand". Social Policy Journal of New Zealand (35). 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  6. ^ a b Carl Walrond (25 March 2015). "Tokelauans - Immigration". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 August 2021.