The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to discuss a plan by Tokelau to declare a whale sanctuary in its waters with Tokelau's legislative council.
The ministry is the New Zealand Government agency that administers the territory.
Tokelau announced its intentions to declare its economic zone as a sanctuary at a meeting of the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium in Auckland on Wednesday.
An associate professor in international law at Victoria University, Alberto Costi, says Tokelau may not need New Zealand's permission to declare the sanctuary.
However, Mr Costi says New Zealand would be needed to enforce it.