The stamps were issued in
1970 to commemorate the discovery of the Tokelau Islands. In 1877 the
islands came under British protection, and was declared a British
Protectorate in 1889 by Captain Oldham by H.M.S. Egeria. From
1916 to 1925 the islands called the Union Islands were administered by
the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony. Since 1925 it was administered
by New Zealand from Western Samoa. In 1949 Tokelau became a part of
New Zealand. The group is made up of three islands.
Atafu was discovered by
Commodore John Byron of the Dolphin in 1765.
Nukunonu was discovered in
1791 by Captain Edward Edwards of H.M.S. Pandora, searching for
H.M.S. Bounty mutineers.
The third island, Fakaofo,
was sighted by Captain Smith of the American whaler General
Jackson. He called the atoll De Wolfs Island.