MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 2) - The people of Tokelau, north of Niue, are reportedly likely to become self-governing in free association with New Zealand.

Niue News reports that leaders of the tiny group of atolls, which are a territory of New Zealand, are expected to adopt a government similar to the Cook Islands and Niue.

The signing of the Principles of Partnership between New Zealand and Tokelau, took place last week during a visit by New Zealand Governor-General Dame Sylvia Cartwright.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Phil Goff says it is a step closer to decolonization for the tiny atolls.

He says because the islands of Tokelau are so small, continued assistance is needed from New Zealand to work through the decolonization process.

Mr Goff says the final decision about their future is up to the people of Tokelau.

The process is expected to take many years as, in the past, Tokelauans have been reluctant to change the status quo, which provides them with New Zealand citizenship and aid.

December 2, 2003

Radio Australia:


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