Administrator of Tokelau

Last updated

The Administrator of Tokelau is an official of the New Zealand Government, responsible for supervising the government of the dependent territory of Tokelau.


Powers and functions

Certain of the Administrator's powers and functions are set forth in the Tokelau Act 1948, as amended from time to time. (The office of Administrator is not, however, created by this Act.) The most important power of the Administrator is the power to disallow any Rule passed by the Parliament of Tokelau (the General Fono); this must, however, be done within 30 days after the Administrator is sent a copy of the Rule.

The Administrator is assisted by a permanent staff of civil servants, which form the Office of the Administrator of Tokelau, a part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Office coordinates New Zealand government activity relating to Tokelau, especially economic assistance; provides expert policy advice and assistance to the Tokelau government, also arranging for administrative assistance and training to the Tokelau public service; and represents the Tokelau public service in New Zealand, especially to the resident Tokelauan community. Besides these roles, the Office assists Tokelau to develop appropriate legal, governance and administration structures as Tokelau moves towards greater autonomy.

The Administrator acts as a representative, not of the Queen personally, but of the New Zealand Government. The Administration of Tokelau may also be overruled by the New Zealand Parliament, or by regulations made by the Governor-General in Council.


The Administrator is appointed by the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs.


The region of the Pacific Ocean in which Tokelau lies was declared a British protectorate in 1877, and the islands themselves came under British protection in 1889, being incorporated into the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony. This Colony was administered by officials responsible ultimately to the Colonial Office in London.

In 1925, Tokelau was separated from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, becoming its own colony. In reality, however, it was administered from New Zealand, the Governor-General of New Zealand being appointed Governor of Tokelau. The Governor-General at the time, Sir Charles Fergusson, the next year appointed the High Commissioner of Western Samoa, Maj Gen Sir George Spafford Richardson, as Administrator, with a delegation of the Vice-Regal powers. This situation continued up until 1948, when sovereignty over Tokelau was transferred from the United Kingdom to New Zealand.

In recent years, Administrators have tended to be senior civil servants, politicians, or career diplomats.

List of administrators (1926–present)

Up to 1961, the administrator of Tokelau was the administrator of Samoa.

See also

Related Research Articles

Tokelau Dependent territory of New Zealand in the southern Pacific Ocean

Tokelau is a dependent territory of New Zealand in the southern Pacific Ocean. It consists of three tropical coral atolls: Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo. They have a combined land area of 10 km2 (4 sq mi). The capital rotates yearly among the three atolls. In addition to these three, Swains Island, which forms part of the same archipelago, is the subject of an ongoing territorial dispute; it is currently administered by the United States as part of American Samoa. Tokelau lies north of the Samoan Islands, east of Tuvalu, south of the Phoenix Islands, southwest of the more distant Line Islands, and northwest of the Cook Islands.

An administrator in the constitutional practice of some countries in the Commonwealth is a person who fulfils a role similar to that of a governor or a governor-general.

Gilbert and Ellice Islands British colony in the Pacific

The Gilbert and Ellice Islands in the Pacific Ocean were part of the British Empire from 1892 to 1976. They were a protectorate from 1892 to 12 January 1916, and then a colony until 1 January 1976. The history of the colony was mainly characterized by phosphate mining on Ocean Island. In October 1975, these islands were divided by force of law into two separate colonies, and they became independent nations shortly thereafter: The Ellice Islands became Tuvalu in 1978, and the Gilbert Islands became part of Kiribati in 1979.

Minister of Foreign Affairs (New Zealand) New Zealand minister of the Crown

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is a senior member of the New Zealand Government heading the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and responsible for relations with foreign countries.

Resident commissioner was or is an official title of several different types of commissioners, who were or are representatives of any level of government. Historically, they were appointed by the British Crown in overseas protectorates, or colonies, and some still exist in this capacity. The United States of America once had a resident commissioner in the Philippines and the Puerto Rico resident commissioner resides in Washington DC. State governments of today's Republic of India have a resident commissioner to represent them in New Delhi.

Dominion of New Zealand

The Dominion of New Zealand was the historical successor to the Colony of New Zealand. It was a constitutional monarchy with a high level of self-government within the British Empire.

Politics of Tokelau Political system of Tokelau

The politics of Tokelau takes place within a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic dependency. The head of state of Tokelau is Queen Elizabeth II in right of her Realm of New Zealand, who is represented by an Administrator. The monarch is hereditary, the Administrator is appointed by the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Realm of New Zealand

The Realm of New Zealand consists of the entire area in which the monarch of New Zealand functions as head of state. The Realm of New Zealand is not a federation; it is a collection of states and territories united under its monarch. New Zealand is an independent and sovereign state. It has one Antarctic territorial claim, one dependent territory (Tokelau), and two associated states.

British Western Pacific Territories

The British Western Pacific Territories (BWPT) was the name of a colonial entity, created in 1877, for the administration, under a single representative of the British Crown, styled High Commissioner for the Western Pacific, of a series of Pacific islands in and around Oceania. Except for Fiji and the Solomon Islands, most of these colonial possessions were relatively minor.

Governor of Saint Helena

The Governor of Saint Helena is the representative of the British monarch in the United Kingdom's overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The Governor is appointed by the monarch on the official advice of Her Majesty's Government (HMG).

David Bruce Payton was the Administrator of Tokelau from 17 October 2006 to 2009.

There are six monarchies in Oceania; that is: self-governing sovereign states in Oceania where supreme power resides with an individual hereditary head, who is recognised as the head of state. Each is a constitutional monarchy, wherein the sovereign inherits his or her office, usually keeps it until death or abdication, and is bound by laws and customs in the exercise of their powers. Five of these independent states share Queen Elizabeth II as their respective head of state, making them part of a global grouping known as the Commonwealth realms; in addition, all monarchies of Oceania are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. The only sovereign monarchy in Oceania that does not share a monarch with another state is Tonga. Australia and New Zealand have dependencies within the region and outside it, although five non-sovereign constituent monarchs are recognized by New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and France.

Ross Ardern New Zealand police officer and diplomat

David Ross Ardern is a New Zealand diplomat and former police officer. He is currently the Administrator of Tokelau, having previously served as the High Commissioner of New Zealand to Niue from 2014 to 2018, and as Niue's police commissioner from 2005 to 2009.

The Department of Island Territories is a now-defunct New Zealand government department that was tasked with administrating New Zealand's three Pacific Islands territories—the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau, and the country's League of Nations mandate Samoa. It was established on 3 October 1919 under the "External Affairs Bill" as the Department of External Affairs. In 1943, the Department was renamed the Department of Island Territories after a separate Department of External Affairs was created to conduct the country's external relations. In 1975, the Department was dissolved and its functions were absorbed back into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the successor to the External Affairs Department.

The 1889 Birthday Honours were appointments by Queen Victoria to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of the British Empire. The appointments were made to celebrate the official birthday of The Queen, and were published in the London Gazette on 24 May 1889 and in The Times on 25 May 1889.

The 1890 Birthday Honours were appointments by Queen Victoria to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of the British Empire. The appointments were made to celebrate the official birthday of The Queen, and were published in the London Gazette on 20 May 1890 and in The Times on 21 May 1890.

The 1891 Birthday Honours were appointments by Queen Victoria to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of the British Empire. The appointments were made to celebrate the official birthday of The Queen, and were published in the London Gazette on 29 May 1891 and in The Times on 30 May 1891.

Alfred Turnbull

Sir Alfred Clarke Turnbull was a New Zealand colonial administrator who served as Administrator of Western Samoa and Tokelau between 1935 and 1946.

The 1925 King's Birthday Honours in New Zealand, celebrating the official birthday of King George V, were appointments made by the King on the recommendation of the New Zealand government to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders. They were announced on 3 June 1925.


  1. "Administrator of Tokelau announced". Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 15 December 2017.