11 Jan 2006

Date of Tokelau self-determination vote marks 80 years as New Zealand colony

4:21 pm on 11 January 2006

The New Zealand adminstrator for Tokelau, Neil Walter, says the starting date for voting in the upcoming referendum on Self Determination is significant.

In 2003 Tokelau's General Fono decided it would explore self-determination on the basis of free association with New Zealand, that would be governed by a Treaty.

Preparations are under way in Tokelau for balloting, which will take place between the 11th and 15th of February under United Nations supervision.

Neil Walter says voting will begin on the anniversary of a historical day.

"As it happens the voting does begin on exactly the 80th anniversary of New Zealand's taking responsibility for Tokelau from Great Britain in administering Samoa or Western Samoa as it was then called, and it was a logical servicing point for Tokelau."

Neil Walter says about 600 voters have registered.