Home beyond the Reef: Mapping Tokelau Imaginaries through Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Oahu, Hawai'i


ACLS Fellowship Program


Ethnic and Gender Studies


Tagata Tokelau, the indigenous people of Tokelau, live in diasporic nodes in United States and New Zealand and continue to articulate and perform their indigenous connections to Tokelau. Cultural performances, oral histories, and ethnographies evidence how Tokelau has grown beyond its shores in real and imagined ways. Through genealogical practices, built spaces, and language and cultural programming, with varying support from local indigenous communities, Tagata Tokelau are continually finding ways to gather, know, and understand their relationships and responsibilities, and live, in diasporic nodes, in ways that are principally “Tokelauan.” A comparative analysis of diasporic nodes which include Hawaiʻi, Auckland, Wellington, Taupo, Rotorua, illuminates how Tagata Tokelau have been, and continue to be, racialized with respect to political recognition and engagement, and access to resources. This research broadens understanding of the impact that colonial borders and relationships continue to have on Tokelau's diasporic formations and connections.