24 Nov 2003

NZ's Governor General visits Tokelau

11:24 am on 24 November 2003

New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Phil Goff, says the signing of the Principles of Partnership with Tokelau is a step closer to decolonisation for the tiny atolls.

The Governor General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, is visiting Tokelau on her 11 day visit around the Pacific.

She was joined by New Zealand's Associate Minister for Pacific Island Affairs, Taito Philip Field, for the signing.

Mr Goff says because the islands of Tokelau are so small, assistance is needed from New Zealand, to work through the decolonisation process, .

But he says the final decision about their future is up to the people of Tokelau.

"But it's pretty clear that most of the people on the Tokelaus will go the same way the Cook Islands and Niue went ....that they'll become a self governing territory in free association with New Zealand."