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Tokelau Travel Guide


There's little variation from the 28° C annual average temperature. Rainfall is irregular but heavy (2,900 mm annually at Atafu); downpours of up to 80 mm in a single day are possible anytime.

Tokelau is at the north edge of the main hurricane belt, but tropical storms sometimes sweep through between November and March.

Since 1846, Tokelau had only experienced three recorded hurricanes; then in February 1990, waves from Hurricane Ofa broke across the atolls, washing topsoil away and contaminating the freshwater lens. Residual salt prevented new plant growth for months. Hurricane Val in 1992 and Hurricane Percy in 2005 did additional damage. The recent increase in such storms seems related to global warming.

Tropical Cricket

Kilikiti (cricket) is the most popular team sport in Tokelau, involving teams of 55 players or more. On Fakaofo the men and women play together, while on Atafu they play separately. Batters stand at each end of a concrete pitch holding heavy Samoan hardwood bats that appear to be a cross between an American baseball bat and a Fijian war club.

The bowler attempts to hit a wicket made from a wooden plank with overarm bowling mandatory on Atafu (on Fakaofo an underarm technique is used to bowl to ladies). The batters (one at each end) must hit the ball as far and fast as possible, and injuries often occur because the rubber ball is softer than an English cricket ball and travels much faster.

The Fakaofo teams have special "runners" ready to run back and forth as soon as the ball is hit, while on Atafu the batters must run themselves. There are two innings per team per game, and the games can last anywhere from a few hours to three days. On Fakaofo the teams often take time off to go fishing in the middle of a game and the number of fish caught are added to each team's score.