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Statement: Administrator of Tokelau, H.E. Ross Ardern; SXN Cable Landing and Handover

Malo Ni, and warm greetings to you all on behalf of New Zealand. I wish that I could be with you in person to celebrate this momentous occasion but that is not currently possible but know I am with you in spirit.

I’m grateful to have the opportunity to provide a few words alongside Hon. Kelisiano Kalolo and Hon. Mose Pelasio, who I understand are also speaking today.

I would firstly like to recognise the hard toil of many people, in Tokelau and around the world, who have worked to support this project. The effort required to achieve this has been particularly significant in the last 18 months, as the world has responded to Covid-19, and I congratulate everyone involved for getting us to this point safely.

The cable landing that is being celebrated today is a major milestone in providing Tokelau with high speed internet. It will make Tokelau part of an international cable network that connects many countries, including New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

In the coming months, a domestic cable will provide a connection between Nukunonu, Atafu and Fakaofo, and will allow all three atolls to benefit from the improved internet access provided by this international cable.

Beyond this, New Zealand has also committed $1.5 million to support the Government of Tokelau to upgrade domestic networks on each atoll, which will improve speed and reliability of internet access for government, communities and households in Tokelau.

The New Zealand Government does recognise that improved internet access brings new risks, particularly in relation to cyber-security and exploitation. We are expanding our support for cyber-security for government and individuals in Tokelau, as we are for many Pacific Island countries.

I look forward to seeing how these areas of work improve the quality of life of you all. We hope that it will support access to government resources, education, social connection with your families who are off these shores, healthcare and opportunities for economic development.

To finish, I would like to say fakafetai and tōfā ni. Enjoy the celebrations today, and I’ll look forward to connecting with you in person in the future.

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