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Introducing Tokelau

If you're into counting off countries, don't leave tiny Tokelau for last. This dot in the Pacific may well be gone, swallowed up by rising seas due to global warming, if you leave it too late.

Tokelau's name is Polynesian for north wind, and it's one of the most isolated places on earth. It takes 20 hours to sail there from its nearest neighbour, Samoa, and you can forget about flying - there's no airstrip. It's largely due to this remote factor that indigenous culture has been preserved on Tokelau to a far greater degree than elsewhere in the Pacific.

Each of Tokelau's three atolls - Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu - is a ribbon of tiny motu (islands) surrounding a lagoon. They're home to a small population of hardy souls who live an almost subsistence lifestyle in very crowded conditions.