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The Administrator of Tokelau is an official of the New Zealand Government, responsible for supervising the government of the dependent territory of Tokelau.
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.
Up to 1961, the administrator of Tokelau was the administrator of Samoa.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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