Foua Toloa (died 23 June 2015) was a Tokelauan politician who served as the Head of the Government of Tokelau, or Ulu, from 21 February 2009, to 21 February 2010.[citation needed] He was a member of the Council for the Ongoing Government of Tokelau, and was a faipule on Fakaofo. As the office of Ulu rotates on an annual basis, Toloa resumed office on 21 February 2011.[citation needed] For a time in 2011-2012, he was also Tokelau's minister for Finance, Telecommunication, Energy and Transport.[1][2] He died in California in 2015.[3]

Foua Toloa
Foua Toloa.jpg
Head of the Government of Tokelau (Ulu)
In office
21 February 2011 – 21 February 2012?
Preceded byKuresa Nasau
Succeeded byKerisiano Kalolo
In office
21 February 2009 – 21 February 2010
Preceded byPio Tuia
Succeeded byKuresa Nasau
Faipule of Fakaofo
Assumed office
Personal details
Died23 June 2015
California, U.S.

Head of GovernmentEdit

During a trip to Tokelauan communities of New Zealand in September 2009, Toloa advocated a return to observer representation in the Tokelau Fono for Tokelauans living overseas.[4] Toloa stated that bringing back representation for Tokelauans abroad would allow the diaspora to contribute to decisions important to the future of their homeland.[4] Toloa noted that it would be possible for overseas representatives to meet in Apia, Samoa, rather than Tokelau for easier travel.[4] "Every General Fono once or twice a year they would come in as representatives to the General Fono, not as delegates but as observers and they can voice their opinion in terms of issues that are discussed with the General Fono, but when it comes to the voting, they are not allowed to vote."[4] Toloa’s visit to New Zealand was part of a series of discussions with Tokelauan communities living in New Zealand and Australia.[4]

Ulu Toloa expressed disappointment with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and the leaders of other developed countries for prioritizing economic concerns over the reduction of carbon emissions at the 2009 APEC summit in Singapore.[5] World leaders at the APEC meeting failed to set a specific target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and, instead, called for an "ambitious outcome" at the December 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.[5]

Toloa criticized Prime Minister Key for placing pressing economic concerns ahead environmental issues, including the long-term survival of small island states.[5] Toloa told Radio New Zealand International, "That the impact on nations such as ours threatens our livelihood and existence as a people, I think the Prime Minister understood our position and stated as much. However, in the mix of things it would seem that other priorities such as establishing a free trade policy to promote new economic growth takes precedent [sic] at this time."[5]

In November 2011, Toloa, as Head of Government of Tokelau, became a founding member of the Polynesian Leaders Group, a regional grouping intended to cooperate on a variety of issues including culture and language, education, responses to climate change, and trade and investment.[6][7][8]

In December 2011, at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, Toloa announced that Tokelau would, in 2012, "switch entirely to renewable energy", as it would "switch off its old diesel generators and be powered by a $7.5m solar PV system designed to provide 90% of its energy. The rest will come from home-made coconut oil". He urged the rest of the world to move towards renewable energy in like manner.[9]

After the end of his term as Ulu, Toloa served as Minister for Finance, Telecommunications, Energy and Transport. He was sacked in June 2012 "after New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, had indicated he couldn’t work with him". The dispute derived from the "dilapidated" MV Tokelau, the ship serving as Tokelau's link to the outside world. McCully considered it not to be seaworthy, but Toloa insisted it should continue to be used. Ulu Kerisiano Kalolo dismissed Toloa, and the MV Tokelau was replaced with a newer ship, the PB Matua.[10][11]

Toloa was the only faipule reelected in the 2014 election.[12]


  1. ^ Government of Tokelau
  2. ^ "Ongoing Government Members", Government of Tokelau
  3. ^ Foua TOLOA Death Notice, in the New Zealand Herald; published 3 July 2015; retrieved 20 August 2016
  4. ^ a b c d e "Tokelau ulu keen to restore wide consultation". Radio New Zealand International. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d "Tokelau Ulu disappointed over NZ stand on emissions". Radio New Zealand International. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  6. ^ Andrews, John (19 September 2011). "NZ may be invited to join proposed 'Polynesian Triangle' ginger group". Scoop News. Pacific Scoop News. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  7. ^ "New Polynesian Leaders Group formed in Samoa". Radio New Zealand. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  8. ^ "American Samoa joins Polynesian Leaders Group, MOU signed". Samoa News. Savalii. 20 November 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Pacific micro-state switches entirely to renewable energy", The Guardian, 8 December 2011
  10. ^ "Concern for council unity in removing Tokelau minister", Radio New Zealand International, 28 June 2012
  11. ^ "Tokelau leader dumped after losing confidence of New Zealand Foreign Minister", Radio New Zealand International, 25 February 2013
  12. ^ "Tokelauan voters make big changes in ongoing government". Radio New Zealand International. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.