A practical foreign exchange and currency guide to Tokelau
What's in this Tokelau currency guide:
The official currency of Tokelau is the New Zealand dollar, with symbol NZ$ and currency code NZD.
The New Zealand dollar is informally called the ‘kiwi’ by foreign exchange traders and analysts due to the kiwi bird, which is native to New Zealand, being something of a national symbol for the country. The kiwi bird is also depicted on New Zealand’s one-dollar coin.
Although the New Zealand dollar is considered one of the eight FX ‘majors’, it is actually only the world’s eleventh most traded currency. Further to the other seven majors – the US dollar, euro, yen, pound, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar and Swiss franc – the New Zealand dollar also falls behind the Mexican peso, the Chinese yuan and the Swedish krona in its share of the foreign exchange market (around 2%). The currencies of China and Mexico are not considered majors due to their emerging market status, while the krona’s market share has only exceeded that of the New Zealand dollar fairly recently (in 2016, according to the Bank for International Settlements) and is therefore not yet considered ahead of New Zealand’s currency.
In the past two decades, the New Zealand dollar’s lowest value against the US dollar occurred in October 2000 when the NZD/USD exchange rate traded at just 0.3901. The currency’s two-decade high occurred in August 2011 when NZD/USD reached 0.8842.
Among the majors, the New Zealand dollar is considered a riskier currency, which means that its value will fall against the larger majors (especially JPY, USD, CHF, GBP and EUR) during periods of economic uncertainty or when global geopolitical risk is elevated, or during bouts of high market volatility.
The New Zealand dollar weakened 10 percent as a result of the risk-off trade encouraged by the Ukraine situation and a hawkish Federal Reserve. The NZD dollar has fallen as investors head for safer assets.
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The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend New Zealand dollar.
In a world where travel has become easy and accessible to the masses, travelling to Tokelau – a territory of New Zealand – still requires a dedication that dissuades all but the most committed visitors. It takes upwards of 24 hours to reach Tokelau by boat from its nearest neighbour, Samoa, and you can forget about flying – there’s no airstrip. Once you’re there, the ship that brought you is your only means of getting between the nation’s three atolls – Fakaofo, Atafu and Nukunonu. It takes nine hours to travel between the two most distant ones (Fakaofo and Atafu). Your ship will also be your ticket home, so you’ll have to be prepared to stay for at least five days until it’s ready to leave, or wait for the next one in a week’s time.
The distances around the atolls are short, so one can travel on foot within an atoll. Tourists can travel between atolls on a dinghy or traditional outrigger canoe.
New Zealand dollar is the main currency used in Tokelau. Tokelau has no banks, no ATM’s and no foreign exchange. Some islanders will accept Australian and Samoan currency. Don’t expect to be able to use credit or debit cards, on Tokelau cash is king.