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Tokelau Islands
(Union Islands)

The First Issue of 1948

First tokelau Stamps - Atafu
The first stamps for Tokelau Islands issued on
June 22, 1948 featured maps and island scenes.
The low value depicts a map of the Union Island group,
a scene from Atafu Atoll and a map of the atoll.

First tokelau Stamps - Nukunono
The middle value depicts a dwelling
on Nukunono and a map of the atoll.

First tokelau Stamps - Fakaofo
The higher value depicts
the shoreline of Fakaofo.

Tokelau Islands (also known at the Union Islands) consist of Atafu, Nukunono and Fakaofo Atolls. They are spread out over approximately 100 miles in the south Pacific and have a total area of four square miles and a population of 1,487 in 1996. They are a dependency of New Zealand and New Zealand issued the first set of three stamps for the islands on June 22, 1948. From 1911 to 1926 the islands used the stamps of Glibert and Ellice Islands. In 1926, after the islands became a dependency of New Zealand, stamps of Western Samoa were put into use. On June 22, 1948 the first stamps for the islands (pictured above) were issued.

The Tokelau Amendment Act passed by the New Zealand Parliament in 1978 officially changed the name of the "Tokelau Islands" to "Tokelau."


Burgess, A.H. "Tokelau Postal History." Gibbons' Stamp Monthly. Feb. 1983: 75-77.

Grumbridge, Dr. J.L. "Postmarks of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands 1911-1941." Gibbons' Stamp Monthly. Jun. 1949: 99-102.

Iremonger, Rev. W.G. "Wanderings of a Philatelist II Gilbert & Ellice Islands." Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal. 1 Sep. 1926: 267-268.

Negus, James. "Catalogue Column." Gibbons Stamp Monthly. Apr. 1978: 63. Print.

Rossiter, Stuart and John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986.

"Tokelau." Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. 1997.



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