Tulou! Tulou! Tulou!
Tui Tokelau e!
Fanaifo la ki to moana!
He tai ika!
Fanaifo la ki to lagi!
He tai manuia!
Mo te Komiti Fakapitoa a Malo Kaufakatahi, Niuhila ma Tokelau!
Greetings! Greetings! Greetings!
Tui Tokelau e!
Descend upon your oceans!
Bring oceans of fish!
Descend upon your skies!
Bring oceans of blessings!
For the United Nations Special Committee, New Zealand and Tokelau!
I bring special greetings to you as a "wantok" from the Pacific from my elders, the General Fono and my colleagues in the newly formed Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau. I want to also acknowledge members of the Committee who are here today and especially those whom I met in Madang, Papua New Guinea. Let me once more thank you and your good government for being such warm and hospitable hosts on the occasion of the UNC24 Seminar last month. I see also familiar faces of members of your Secretariat. I greet them too.
Let me also formally greet the Administrator of Tokelau in this formal setting. Mr Neil Walter is a trusted friend of Tokelau. He will give you a run down of recent events from the perspective of the administering power. I will try and give you the viewpoint of Tokelau. In many ways they are not very different - this is a demonstration of the way in which New Zealand and Tokelau work closely together - as we both do with you and members of the Special Committee.
The year 2003 has been a momentous one for Tokelau. Indeed, within the whole of the period under review, Tokelau was used as a decolonisation case study at the Madang seminar. That Mr Chairman was a great honour for my little country and I was pleased to have been there. The period was also marked by the formal signing of the Principles of Partnership, full budget responsibility was transferred to Tokelau -with a draft agreement setting out economic support with a guaranteed annual 4% increase for the next three years almost completed - and many important pieces of law have been approved.
The unanimous resolution of the General Fono actively to investigate the development of a status of free association with New Zealand points the way forward to an early and positive engagement with the Government of New Zealand on key matters of Tokelau self-government. I will come back to that later - for now Mr Chairman -
I want to set the record straight. In Madang, I said that I did not quite fully appreciate why Tokelau was "summoned" in front of this Committee. What I meant there was that I did not quite appreciate what all the fuss was about because as far as Tokelau was concerned, it is quietly doing what it must do to make sense of her world and to set a course together with her partners to reach an eventual act of self-determination. But as I have said above, Tokelau humbly thank the Special Committee for the honour of being chosen as a case study.
The opportunity was also taken by me and my "tokotoko" (my walking stick) plus the Administrator of Tokelau and input from Tony Angelo through his "tokotoko" andrew Townend, to update the Committee on developments up to that point. Indications were also given in regards to immediate future activities. So all in all the Committee has been kept updated on a continuous basis of activities over the last twelve months. These activities are well recorded and I bring the attention of the Special Committee to two documents in particular. They are
May I also commend to you this magazine called "Tapu" not because it has my picture on the front but the cover story is on Tokelau's path towards self-determination. It is very informative and ensures that our people are kept informed. Besides, it publicises in the Pacific region and beyond the work of the Special Committee.
I would like now to focus on developments since the Madang Seminar and to further demonstrate that when Tokelau says she will do something - you can bet your bottom dollar it will get done!
You will recall Mr Chairman at the above-mentioned seminar Tokelau presented in tabular form a one-page document titled "Events leading to the Return of the Pule", or authority. The Administrator of Tokelau and the May/June 2004 General Fono considered and actioned all the events set down for May/June. That is to say, the delegation of the powers of the Administrator to the Councils of Elders (the Councils) is in place as is the sub-delegation by the Councils for those services to be delivered on a national basis to the General Fono. The law changes necessary to implement the transfer of the delivery of certain public services by the Councils have been enacted. This will mean that by 1 July 2004 the Councils will be responsible for public services on atoll.
All three villages celebrated the return of the "pule" in their own way. To give you a flavour of how people felt about this historical event - Vae Lopa, Tokelau's Living Treasure and a woman General Fono delegate whispered, "Am I dreaming? Is this real? The day we've been dreaming about for so long is really here?" For Matulino, another General Fono delegate, "This occasion is good. Even though the power has always been here, the formalisation and clarity of the role that the Toeaina (elders) and Taupulega (Councils of Elders) is the top "pule" is excellent.
The General Fono also passed resolutions related to important elements of the Tokelau Public Service Manual and Code of Conduct including appointments and appeals provisions. Other relevant constitutional and political development resolutions include Taupulega Remuneration and Allowances which acknowledge the new and important roles that they are playing; resolution on the participation of Tokelau in the affairs of the Pacific Island Forum leading to increasing responsibility and participation in regional affairs; and the National Symbol - the traditional fishing box.
Please allow me to call on the spirit of my "tupuna", my ancestors as I ponder on the way ahead - the next twelve lunar cycles - when once more echoes of Tokelau will move like shadows in this chamber.
As the master fisherman glides his canoe towards the new dawn
He begins to make out the tip of the islet
I te mulifenua
On his face he feels the cool breeze
Matagi Tokelau - the northern wind - the bearer of good tidings
Te taeao fakatiu te matagi
Blowing fresh and gentle
Bringing blessings from the approaching light of day
Te pa e, te pa ko ia
The fishing lure
What type, colour and style of lure shall I select;
To catch the blessings from the northern wind
Have I crafted it properly and correctly?
Have I chosen the right material?
To attract the "mafua" - the great fish, the catch
Na holo te pa na hei faua?
Na holo te pa na hei atia?
For if the lure disintegrates, becomes undone
Who crafted the lure?
Who is the "tohuga" the master craftsman
Who fashioned and breathed life into the lure
Liakina te mafua "O" ki te tafato
Tau pa kaina ki to lima
The darting and elusive school of "O" is
Just beyond the breakers where the waters turn blue emerald green
Where the great fish is waiting
Is it ready?
Is Tokelau ready?
Is New Zealand ready?
Is the Special Committee ready?
Are we ready to cast the lure for the great fish?
To ensure that Tokelau will be ready to make the final act the next period will be one of consolidation. Strengthening the capacity of the public services to deliver and raise the level and quality of those services. Strengthening the capacity of the Taupulega, the General Fono and the Executive, the Council for the Ongoing Government to make good decisions, policies and consequential laws.
The Constitution will have been completed as will the national anthem be sung and the national flag attached to mast and flying. May I warmly welcome you Mr Chairman to the Workshop of the Special Constitutional Committee to be held in late October 2004 We will be honoured if you are able to attend.
Our people outside will have been invited to put forward designs and compositions and consulted on how to fashion the lure to catch the great fish. The same question in regards to readiness will be put to them.
The details of the Principles of Partnership will have been significantly advanced leading to a possible free association Treaty between Tokelau and New Zealand.
What can the Special Committee, New Zealand and the international community do to craft a strong, sturdy, attractive and long lasting lure?
The economic and material well-being of Tokelau now and for her future generations continue to be beyond the tip of the islet. The Trust Fund has been established with a current level of $NZ6.4 million.
Despite a shortfall of $NZ1 million in fisheries revenue for the current financial year and competing priorities for the new financial year, the General Fono has just allocated $NZ50,000 for the Trust Fund with a view to adding further to that amount when the budget is reviewed in January 2005. New Zealand has by far contributed the greater amount for which Tokelau is eternally grateful for.
Tokelau will not shirk from the responsibility of helping herself to the greatest extent possible. But Tokelau cannot do that on her own.
May I therefore once more call on the Special Committee, the UN family including all its agencies to do all you can to promote the Tokelau Trust Fund or make contributions to it. Details of other economic initiatives are listed in the schedule of events for the next twelve months. For the sake of saving time I have attached this list to this statement as Appendix 1. Those are the guiding stars for Tokelau for the next period.
I come now to my concluding remarks. Firstly, to you sir, and your colleagues, thank you for paying attention to the needs, aspirations and dreams of my people. Thank you for considering these wants. Thank you for staying the distance and for being an equal partner as we keenly search for the elusive school of "O" fish. The great fish will be caught!
To the representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York and Apia, Samoa, thank you. UNDP is Tokelau's second major donor - that must be a unique situation for UNDP. Thank you for the sensitive, flexible and creative ways in which you approach and manage your financial assistance for the benefit of the people of Tokelau. Thank you for your goodwill. It is extremely encouraging and contributes in a very real way to Tokelau's ability to achieve full self-government - and the eventual act of self-determination. The extra funding resources for seawalls will go some way in protecting Tokelau from cyclones and sea-level rise. Malo to you Joyce Yu!
To the Administrator of Tokelau, Mr Neil Walter, please convey once more to the Government of New Zealand our warm and deepest appreciation for the ongoing support - both materially and morally. It is not the people of Tokelau's deliberate intention to keep New Zealand under the dark shadow of a so-called colonial power. For Tokelau, nothing could be further from the truth and great progress has been made to reach full self-government. We find ourselves caught in a net - the mesh of which is not of our own making. Our feelings about New Zealand are akin to freeing ourselves from that mesh. We are free to make our own choices, make our own decisions, run our own affairs and look after ourselves to the greatest extent possible - knowing that in the long run Tokelau will not be cast adrift by New Zealand - the net will still be there - even after the great fish is caught!