Jacinda Ardern will be the first Kiwi Prime Minister to visit Tokelau in 15 years when she arrives at the remote set of Pacific islands this weekend.

Although she is away from New Zealand for five days, she will only be spending three days on the islands, as the journey from New Zealand to Tokelau takes so long.

Ardern, Cabinet Minister Kris Faafoi and a small delegation fly to Samoa tomorrow before boarding the HMNZS Otago for a 24-hour trip to Tokelau.

The Prime Minister will visit all three of Tokelau's atolls and will spend time talking to locals about issues such as climate change.


She will be accompanied by Tokelau's Administrator, Ross Ardern – her father.

Tokelau has been a non-self-governing territory of New Zealand since 1926 – its population, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is roughly 1500 people.

The territory has no airport, meaning the only way to get to the islands is by ship from Samoa.

Speaking to media on Monday, Jacinda Ardern said she will be the first Kiwi Prime Minister to visit the islands since Helen Clark in 2004.

"While there have been frequent [official] visits to Niue and the Cook Islands, Tokelau's remoteness, and the difficulty in accessing it, means it's not had the attention that it deserves.

"Particularly as it is at significant risk of devastating impacts linked to climate change."

Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand was committed to supporting its Pacific neighbours in facing long term challenges including those that pose a serious threat to the quality of life, such as climate change.

She said she would also be talking with local communities about health care and education, as well as preserving their cultural identity and language.


"[These are] really important parts of us continuing to build our links and ensuring that New Zealand's future assistance has a clear focus and meets the needs of all Tokelauans."

Tokelau – a few facts

• Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory of New Zealand, located roughly 500km north of Samoa. It has no airport, so the only way to access the islands is by sea.

• It has a population of just 1500. Although Tokelau is non-self-governing, it has its own political institutions, judicial system, public services (including telecommunications and shipping), and full control of its budget.

• The position of Ulu-o-Tokelau, the titular Head of Government, is rotated annually between the leader of each atoll.