Steffen Thorsen | 25 Jul 12:21 2012

[tz] Tokelau in wrong time zone?

The IANA tz database, Wikipedia, CIA World Fact Book, most time zone web
sites and a lot of other sources claim that Tokelau is on UTC+14 (or
UTC-10 if they have not corrected for the date line switch in December).

However, we got a complaint a few weeks ago, from a user in Tokelau that
our Tokelau time on was one hour ahead of the actual
time there. He claimed Tokelau had the same current time as Samoa
(UTC+13) at the moment and he worked for the Tokelau Government.

This lead us to investigate, we double checked by calling hotels and
offices based in Tokelau asking about the time there, and they all told
a time that agrees with UTC+13.

So it was soon evident that Tokelau is on UTC+13. The next problem was
to find when they changed from UTC+14, or if it might have happened as
they moved from UTC-10 last December (skipping 23 hours instead of a
full day). But sources agreed that there had not been any time change
recently, Tokelau does not participate in DST and that the change last
December was to skip a full day - and this means that Tokelau was on
UTC-11 last year.

We found some NZ government sources, saying UTC-11, one being as far
back as 2005:
says "Local time: GMT –11."

One from 2012, but that one has not adjusted for the date line change:
says "Time zone: GMT -11 hours"

So, Tokelau has probably been on UTC-11 (or +13) at least since year
2005. This makes me wonder, has Tokelau ever been on UTC-10? Looking in
the record for Fakaofo, it says they changed from Local Mean Time in
1901, and then moved the clocks by nearly 85 minutes! I looked through
the australasia file and could not find any other location that moved
their clocks by more than 1 hour as they went from LMT to a standard
time zone or a time zone somehow connected to GMT. (The vast majority
adjusted by less than 30 minutes.)

Currently we have: (tabs mangled)
Zone Pacific/Fakaofo -11:24:56 - LMT 1901
-10:00 - TKT 2011 Dec 30 # Tokelau Time
14:00 - TKT

Shanks says UTC-10 from 1901 and is probably the source here. I think
there is a good chance the change actually was to UTC-11 back then, and
that they have never changed their clocks after that - if not we would
need to find some date between 1901 and 2005 that they changed their
time zone.

Don Higgins, Advisor to the Administrator of Tokelau raised the fact
about the wrong time and has contributed significantly to our

Best regards,
Steffen Thorsen -