Tokelau navigates towards cleaner, greener future

Core Green issues of transport, energy and Pacific climate change were raised in a meeting with our MPs Keith Locke and Kennedy Graham. 

A delegation from Tokelau – that included the three high chiefs of Tokelau – Faipule Foua Toloa (Ulu o Tokelau/leader of Tokelau) , Faipule Kuresa Nasau, Faipule Pio Tetimuatoga Tuia Iosefo and officials – met with the two MPs at our Parliamentary office.

The high chiefs – who also met with the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, Government officials and members of other political parties – want New Zealand to speed up the funding and purchase of a new ferry to link Tokelau’s three atolls and the Samoan capital, Apia.

Oceans apart 

Sea voyaging is the main form of transport between Tokelau’s three atolls, as none have an airstrip.

Attention has been focused on safety concerns after the tragedy with Tonga’s Princess Ashika ferry.

The MV Tokelau has a fortnightly shipping service from Apia, Samoa. The ship visits each of the three atolls in a round trip lasting about five days. A 2005 shipping review recommended a larger, faster ship with greater cargo and passenger capacity.

 “It’s their lifeline,” says Keith, the Green Party’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson. “The atolls are only reachable by boat and the only ferry available at the moment is not up to scratch.

 “Safety is paramount and they also need a ferry that is faster, more reliable and can cope with more passengers and freight.

 “A proposal is already on the table but needs to be hurried up as the future of Tokelau depends upon it.”

Climate change is now 

The Tokelauans also outlined their vulnerability to climate change problems, remarking on the low-lying nature of the atolls and the increased ferocity of hurricanes.

They also discussed plans of switching to two forms of alternative energy – solar power for electricity and coconut oil as biofuels to power generators and vehicles – to lessen dependence on imported diesel.

 “It makes the sense for them to rid the islands of fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy,” Keith says.

Keith and Kennedy support the Tokelauans’ call for assistance with a new ferry and acknowledges their efforts to become self sufficient with energy through the use of renewable sources.

“Small islands such as Tokelau are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” Dr Graham, Green Party Associate Spokesperson on International Climate Change, says.

 “While small island states contribute the least to global greenhouse gas emissions, they are at the sharp edge of climate change problems. What’s also interesting in this case is that Tokelau is part of New Zealand.”

In the NZ realm 

Tokelau is a non-self governing territory of New Zealand. While Tokelau is a part of New Zealand, it has a distinctive culture and its own political, legal, social, judicial and economic systems. Tokelauans are New Zealand citizens and use NZ banknotes and coins.

Legacy of terror 

Tokelauan society lives with the legacy of slavery. In the 1860s, Peruvian slave ships visited the three atolls and forcibly removed almost all able-bodied men (253) to work as labourers. Most of the men died of dysentery and smallpox, and very few ever returned to Tokelau.

Taking action on Pacific Climate Change

The situation in Tokelau and other Pacific islands such as Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Carteret Islands was addressed when MP Metiria Turei and Green Party Pacific Issues Spokesperson Reverend Mua Strickson-Pua spoke on Pacific Climate Change at a recent meeting with Pasifika Greens, Greenpeace, Oxfam and 350 campaign representatives at AUT University.

Young Pasifika men performed a jazz hip hop tribute as a response to the heartfelt plea for action from climate change activists Tafue Lusama and Pelenise Alofa Pilitati.

AUT Pasifika students turned up in force to support the meeting  and their Polynesian cousins threatened by climate change in our Pacific backyard. Many asked advice on how to pressure the Government to take leadership on this regional crisis.

8 Comments Posted

  1. Language like beautiful music mon….
    Have to cross the river for a conference now.
    We are thinking of shifting Jesus into second -five eigth and putting Isiah at Centre

  2. Watching Maori Television Mark? They’re talking sense (while the other channels churn out pap).
    Wind turbines for Tainui – worried about the godwits, so DOC put in radar. Wasted space beneath the towers? Grow miscanthus sinensis – Giant Grass – sterile hybrid, won’t escape, and convert to biofuel to replace the ‘coal’ in ‘Coal Fired’ power stations. If we’re to stupid to use it, the UK will buy our total crop, every blade!

    He paki te ra i te rohe nei e hoa. Tino nui te aroha kei konei.
    Me haere mai koe ki te takiwa o te tangata kakariki ki Murihiku.
    He wa tino pai tena. Pai rawa te onematua i runga i o matou waewae. Tino reka te kakara o te pesto!

  3. As a Man of your Nature and Stature would have been Fly: I hold no Forts – no ground – Afghanistan’s looking Worse on the International scene.
    You must have had a sunny day down there. New Zealand is quite unique in it’s willingness to co-opt on a Sharing and Caring Basis; you’re right -it gives the J Edgar Fans headaches…but what doesn’t?
    We are better off that way.
    It’s past time we formed a pragmatic local consciousness anyway – our footy team can do it – we struggle with words – with clarity Fly.
    Hang on to the Rat-Mole latex suit – I’m having fun dressed as Daffy Duck again…
    Bring the Kids Home for Christmas eh? …eh?
    See if you can’t raise Phil – he’s a vegetarian
    Those Afghani’s are our own Family genetically – say it in Te Reo, Te Fly – make my day!
    Kiwi’s are Out of Season – indefinitely you naughty buggers.

    PS Would send Daffy Duck suit, but am missing some absolutely vital feathers…
    (Holding the fort heh, heh)
    Did you see the Maori Party in Parliament last week?
    Nice to see John Key laughing anyway
    Nothing funny in Cabinet I’ll bet…
    “Where are the Figures Gerry etc etc….”
    Any action in Dipton???
    Hope someone has a good Herb Garden down there anyway
    I be down to hand cut the basil – fresh pesto in southland! – can’t miss!!!

  4. Mark – I’ve been outside all day, elsewise I’d’ve been chattering- thanks for holding the fort!
    I’ve had the rat-suit on for hours now, but it’s your’s once I’ve given it a swish in the sink.
    Big day in Te Anau today, they’ve a new Community Garden – imagine! People working together to create a shared resource – wat and jh will be spitting!
    Smilin’ folk, children, scarecrows – grist to the mill. Heard some inside goss on Billy Dipper and ‘Keep ’em Away from the Difficult Questions Key’.
    All in all, a great day in the sun.

  5. oo…a thread to myself? – great! Mark you loser, you don’t understand that all Votes are bought and sold eventually…hmmm…you know there was one united Church of England in the days when it still had 8 kings?
    Frog: I apologise for swearing on a Sunday – you should print that too.

  6. tell ’em to build some good boats…ice is getting headaches
    breaking up all over…
    Scuba Stocks I’d reckon – ha – seafront rooms for rent
    Fly; – can i borrow the latex rat-mole suit? – if you didn’t tear it taking it off that is…
    New Haka anyone? – Fly is also a Secret Expert in Te Reo
    Perhap the world’s southernmost – any further and it forms ‘uge white rocks kiwi…the old one was written by a man who bowed to his nephew,
    in terms of place names , and where to stick yer wh’s
    No disrespect – but life is fuckin hard enough already – no?

  7. In their drive towards increased renewables and reduced dependence on imported fossil fuels, they might benefit from the installation of vanadium redox flow batteries:

    These are used on King Island (Bass Strait) to smooth the output of wind generation, but would work equally well for solar power. With big enough electrolyte tanks, they could provide night-time power and recharge during the day.


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