Cook Islands

Coordinates: 21°14′S 159°46′W / 21.233°S 159.767°W

Cook Islands

Kūki 'Āirani
Anthem: Te Atua Mou E
God is Truth
Location of the Cook Islands
and largest city
21°12′S 159°46′W / 21.200°S 159.767°W
Official languages
Spoken languages
  • English (86.4%)
  • Māori (76.2%)
  • other (8.3%)[1]
Ethnic groups
  • 81.3% Māori
  • 6.7% part-Māori
  • 11.9% other
Demonym(s)Cook Islander
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
Tom Marsters
Henry Puna
Tou Travel Ariki
Associated state of New Zealand
4 August 1965
• UN recognition of independence in foreign relations
• Total
236.7 km2 (91.4 sq mi) (unranked)
• 2016 estimate
• 2016 census
• Density
42/km2 (108.8/sq mi) (124th)
GDP (PPP)2014 estimate
• Total
$311 million[5] (not ranked)
• Per capita
$15,002.5 (not ranked)
CurrencyNew Zealand dollar (NZD)
Cook Islands dollar
Time zoneUTC-10 (CKT)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+682
ISO 3166 codeCK
  1. ^ As per the Te Reo Maori Act.

The Cook Islands (Cook Islands Māori: Kūki 'Āirani)[6] is a self-governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. It comprises 15 islands whose total land area is 240 square kilometres (92.7 sq mi). The Cook Islands' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers 1,800,000 square kilometres (690,000 sq mi) of ocean.[7]

New Zealand is responsible for the Cook Islands' defence and foreign affairs, but they are exercised in consultation with the Cook Islands. In recent times, the Cook Islands have adopted an increasingly independent foreign policy. Although Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, they have the status of Cook Islands nationals, which is not given to other New Zealand citizens. The Cook Islands has been an active member of the Pacific Community since 1980.

The Cook Islands' main population centres are on the island of Rarotonga (10,572 in 2011),[8] where there is an international airport. There is a larger population of Cook Islanders in New Zealand itself; in the 2013 census, 61,839 people said they were Cook Islanders, or of Cook Islands descent.[9]

With about 100,000 visitors travelling to the islands in the 2010–11 financial year,[10] tourism is the country's main industry, and the leading element of the economy, ahead of offshore banking, pearls, and marine and fruit exports.

In March 2019 it was reported that the Cook Islands had plans to change its name and remove the reference to Captain James Cook in favour of "a title that reflects its 'Polynesian nature'".[11][12]


The Cook Islands were first settled in the 6th century by Polynesian people who migrated from Tahiti,[13] an island 1,154 kilometres (717 mi) to the northeast.

Spanish ships visited the islands in the 16th century. The first written record came in 1595 when the island of Pukapuka was sighted by Spanish sailor Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, who gave it the name San Bernardo (Saint Bernard). Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, a Portuguese captain working for the Spanish crown, made the first recorded European landing in the islands when he set foot on Rakahanga in 1606, calling the island Gente Hermosa (Beautiful People).[14]

British navigator Captain James Cook arrived in 1773 and again in 1777[15] giving the island of Manuae the name Hervey Island. The Hervey Islands later came to be applied to the entire southern group. The name "Cook Islands", in honour of Cook, first appeared on a Russian naval chart published in the 1820s.[16]

In 1813 John Williams, a missionary on the Endeavour (not the same ship as Cook's) made the first recorded sighting of Rarotonga.[17] The first recorded landing on Rarotonga by Europeans was in 1814 by the Cumberland; trouble broke out between the sailors and the Islanders and many were killed on both sides.[18] The islands saw no more Europeans until English missionaries arrived in 1821. Christianity quickly took hold in the culture and many islanders are Christians today.

The islands were a popular stop in the 19th century for whaling ships from the United States, Britain and Australia. They visited, from at least 1826, to obtain water, food and firewood.[19] Their favourite islands were Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Mangaia and Penrhyn.

Cook Islands Annexation Ceremony
Governor Lord Ranfurly reading the annexation proclamation to Queen Makea on 7 October 1900.

The Cook Islands became a British protectorate in 1888, largely because of community fears that France might occupy the islands as it already had Tahiti. On 6 September 1900, the islanders's leaders presented a petition asking that the islands (including Niue "if possible") be annexed as British territory.[20][21] On 8 and 9 October 1900, seven instruments of cession of Rarotonga and other islands were signed by their chiefs and people. A British Proclamation was issued, stating that the cessions were accepted and the islands declared parts of Her Britannic Majesty's dominions.[20] However, it did not include Aitutaki. Even though the inhabitants regarded themselves as British subjects, the Crown's title was unclear until and the island was formally annexed by a Proclamation dated 9 October 1900.[22][23] In 1901 the islands were included within the boundaries of the Colony of New Zealand by Order in Council[24] under the Colonial Boundaries Act, 1895 of the United Kingdom.[20][25] The boundary change became effective on 11 June 1901, and the Cook Islands have had a formal relationship with New Zealand since that time.[20]

When the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 came into effect on 1 January 1949, Cook Islanders who were British subjects automatically gained New Zealand citizenship.[26] The islands remained a New Zealand dependent territory until the New Zealand Government decided to grant them self-governing status. Albert Henry of the Cook Islands Party was elected as the first Premier. Henry led the nation until 1978, when he was accused of vote-rigging and resigned. He was succeeded by Tom Davis of the Democratic Party.

In March 2019 it was reported that the Cook Islands had plans to change its name and remove the reference to Captain James Cook in favour of "a title that reflects its 'Polynesian nature'".[11][12]


Wyspy Cooka
Map of the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and American Samoa. There are 15 major islands spread over 2,200,000 km2 (849,425 sq mi) of ocean, divided into two distinct groups: the Southern Cook Islands and the Northern Cook Islands of coral atolls.[27]

The islands were formed by volcanic activity; the northern group is older and consists of six atolls, which are sunken volcanoes topped by coral growth. The climate is moderate to tropical. The Cook Islands consist of 15 islands and two reefs.

Group Island Area km² Population (2016) Density (2016)
Northern Penrhyn 10 226 22.6
Northern Rakahanga 4 80 20.0
Northern Manihiki 5 213 42.6
Northern Pukapuka 1 444 444.0
Northern Tema Reef (submerged) 0 0 -
Northern Nassau 1 78 78.0
Northern Suwarrow 0 0 0.0
Southern Palmerston 2 58 28.0
Southern Aitutaki 18 1,928 107.1
Southern Manuae 6 0 0.0
Southern Takutea 1 0 0.0
Southern Mitiaro 22 155 7.1
Southern Atiu 27 437 16.2
Southern Mauke 18 297 16.5
Southern Winslow Reef (submerged) 0 0 -
Southern Rarotonga 67 13,044 194.7
Southern Mangaia 52 499 9.6
Total Total 237 17,459 73.7

The table is ordered from north to south. Population figures from the 2016 census.[28]

Pukapuka Aerial efs 1280

Aerial photograph of Pukapuka

Aitutaki-Motu Tapuaetai

Tapuaetai (One Foot Island) in the southern part of Aitutaki Atoll

Rarotonga beach

Beach on Rarotonga

Politics and foreign relations

Parliament of the Cook Islands - 2006
The parliament building of the Cook Islands, formerly a hotel
Sustainable Development and Conservation Event in the Cook Islands (7907701948)
Prime Minister Henry Puna with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 31 August 2012

The Cook Islands is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system in an associated state relationship with New Zealand. Executive power is exercised by the government, with the Chief Minister as head of government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of the Cook Islands. There is a pluriform multi-party system. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The head of state is the Queen of New Zealand, who is represented in the Cook Islands by the Queen's Representative.[29]

The islands are self-governing in "free association" with New Zealand. New Zealand retains primary responsibility for external affairs, with consultation with the Cook Islands government. Cook Islands nationals are citizens of New Zealand and can receive New Zealand government services, but the reverse is not true; New Zealand citizens are not Cook Islands nationals. Despite this, as of 2014, the Cook Islands had diplomatic relations in its own name with 43 other countries. The Cook Islands is not a United Nations member state, but, along with Niue, has had their "full treaty-making capacity" recognised by United Nations Secretariat,[30][31] and is a full member of the WHO and UNESCO UN specialised agencies, is an associate member of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and a Member of the Assembly of States of the International Criminal Court.

On 11 June 1980, the United States signed a treaty with the Cook Islands specifying the maritime border between the Cook Islands and American Samoa and also relinquishing any American claims to Penrhyn, Pukapuka, Manihiki, and Rakahanga.[32] In 1990 the Cook Islands and France signed a treaty that delimited the boundary between the Cook Islands and French Polynesia.[33] In late August 2012, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the islands.

Human rights

Male homosexuality is illegal in the Cook Islands and is punishable by a maximum term of seven years imprisonment.[34]

Administrative subdivisions

There are island councils on all of the inhabited outer islands (Outer Islands Local Government Act 1987 with amendments up to 2004, and Palmerston Island Local Government Act 1993) except Nassau, which is governed by Pukapuka (Suwarrow, with only one caretaker living on the island, also governed by Pukapuka, is not counted with the inhabited islands in this context). Each council is headed by a mayor.

Penrhyn Aerial EFS 1280
Aerial view of Penrhyn
The Ten Outer Islands Councils are
Aitutakitopo Aitutaki Aerial Aitutaki (including uninhabited Manuae)
Atiumap Atiu Aerial Atiu (including uninhabited Takutea)
Mangaia english version Mangaia (Correct Orientation) Mangaia
Manihiki Manihiki Aerial Manihiki
Mauke map Mauke Aerial Ma'uke
Mitiaro Island map Mitiaro Aerial Mitiaro
Palmerston Island map Palmerston Aerial Palmerston
Penrhyn Penhryn atoll Penrhyn
Pukapuka Pukapuka Atoll Pukapuka (including Nassau and Suwarrow)
Rakahanga ISS002-E-10047rakahanga Rakahanga
Districts of Rarotonga

The three Vaka councils of Rarotonga established in 1997 (Rarotonga Local Government Act 1997), also headed by mayors,[35] were abolished in February 2008, despite much controversy.[36][37]

The three Vaka councils on Rarotonga were:
Te-Au-O-Tonga (equivalent to Avarua, the capital of the Cook Islands)
Puaikura Arorangi
Takitumu Matavera, Ngatangiia, Takitumu

On the lowest level, there are village committees. Nassau, which is governed by Pukapuka, has an island committee (Nassau Island Committee), which advises the Pukapuka Island Council on matters concerning its own island.


Population pyramid 2011[38]
% Males Age Females %

Births and deaths [39]

Year Population Live births Deaths Natural increase Crude birth rate Crude death rate Rate of natural increase TFR
2009 284 72 212 12.6 3.2 9.4
2010 286 92 194 12.1 3.9 8.2
2011 14 974 262 72 190 13.6 3.7 9.8
2012 259 104 155 13.3 5.3 7.9
2013 256 115 141 13.8 6.2 7.6


The economy is strongly affected by geography. It is isolated from foreign markets, and has some inadequate infrastructure; it lacks major natural resources, has limited manufacturing and suffers moderately from natural disasters.[40] Tourism provides the economic base that makes up approximately 67.5% of GDP. Additionally, the economy is supported by foreign aid, largely from New Zealand. China has also contributed foreign aid, which has resulted in, among other projects, the Police Headquarters building. The Cook Islands is expanding its agriculture, mining and fishing sectors, with varying success.

Since approximately 1989, the Cook Islands have become a location specialising in so-called asset protection trusts, by which investors shelter assets from the reach of creditors and legal authorities.[41][42] According to The New York Times, the Cooks have "laws devised to protect foreigners' assets from legal claims in their home countries", which were apparently crafted specifically to thwart the long arm of American justice; creditors must travel to the Cook Islands and argue their cases under Cooks law, often at prohibitive expense.[41] Unlike other foreign jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, the Cooks "generally disregard foreign court orders" and do not require that bank accounts, real estate, or other assets protected from scrutiny (it is illegal to disclose names or any information about Cooks trusts) be physically located within the archipelago.[41] Taxes on trusts and trust employees account for some 8% of the Cook Islands economy, behind tourism but ahead of fishing.[41]

In recent years, the Cook Islands has gained a reputation as a debtor paradise, through the enactment of legislation that permits debtors to shield their property from the claims of creditors.[41]


Float parade during the annual Maeva Nui celebrations.


The languages of the Cook Islands include English, Cook Islands Māori, or "Rarotongan," and Pukapukan. Dialects of Cook Islands Maori include Penrhyn; Rakahanga-Manihiki; the Ngaputoru dialect of Atiu, Mitiaro, and Mauke; the Aitutaki dialect; and the Mangaian dialect. Cook Islands Maori and its dialectic variants are closely related to both Tahitian and to New Zealand Māori. Pukapukan is considered closely related to the Samoan language. English and Cook Islands Māori are official languages of the Cook Islands; per the Te Reo Maori Act. The legal definition of Cook Islands Māori includes Pukapukan.


Music in the Cook Islands is varied, with Christian songs being quite popular, but traditional dancing and songs in Polynesian languages remain popular.

Narrative of Missionary Enterprises engraving
Confiscation and destruction of idol gods by European missionaries in Rarotonga, 1837
Cook Islands IMG 5905 (8451965559)
The Cook Islands Christian Church



Cook Islands carved wood figure, British Museum
This wooden late eighteenth or early nineteenth century carved figure escaped emasculation. Only one other comparable example is known apart from this one in the British Museum.[43]

Woodcarving is a common art form in the Cook Islands. The proximity of islands in the southern group helped produce a homogeneous style of carving but that had special developments in each island. Rarotonga is known for its fisherman's gods and staff-gods, Atiu for its wooden seats, Mitiaro, Mauke and Atiu for mace and slab gods and Mangaia for its ceremonial adzes. Most of the original wood carvings were either spirited away by early European collectors or were burned in large numbers by missionaries. Today, carving is no longer the major art form with the same spiritual and cultural emphasis given to it by the Maori in New Zealand. However, there are continual efforts to interest young people in their heritage and some good work is being turned out under the guidance of older carvers. Atiu, in particular, has a strong tradition of crafts both in carving and local fibre arts such as tapa. Mangaia is the source of many fine adzes carved in a distinctive, idiosyncratic style with the so-called double-k design. Mangaia also produces food pounders carved from the heavy calcite found in its extensive limestone caves.[44]


The outer islands produce traditional weaving of mats, basketware and hats. Particularly fine examples of rito hats are worn by women to church. They are made from the uncurled immature fibre of the coconut palm and are of very high quality. The Polynesian equivalent of Panama hats, they are highly valued and are keenly sought by Polynesian visitors from Tahiti. Often, they are decorated with hatbands made of minuscule pupu shells that are painted and stitched on by hand. Although pupu are found on other islands the collection and use of them in decorative work has become a speciality of Mangaia. The weaving of rito is a speciality of the northern islands, Manihiki, Rakahanga and Penrhyn.[45]


A major art form in the Cook Islands is tivaevae. This is, in essence, the art of handmade Island scenery patchwork quilts. Introduced by the wives of missionaries in the 19th century, the craft grew into a communal activity, which is probably one of the main reasons for its popularity.[46]

Contemporary art

The Cook Islands has produced internationally recognised contemporary artists, especially in the main island of Rarotonga. Artists include painter (and photographer) Mahiriki Tangaroa, sculptors Eruera (Ted) Nia (originally a film maker) and master carver Mike Tavioni, painter (and Polynesian tattoo enthusiast) Upoko'ina Ian George, Aitutakian-born painter Tim Manavaroa Buchanan, Loretta Reynolds, Judith Kunzlé, Joan Rolls Gragg, Kay George (who is also known for her fabric designs), Apii Rongo, Varu Samuel, and multi-media, installation and community-project artist Ani O'Neill, all of whom currently live on the main island of Rarotonga. Atiuan-based Andrea Eimke is an artist who works in the medium of tapa and other textiles, and also co-authored the book 'Tivaivai – The Social Fabric of the Cook Islands' with British academic Susanne Kuechler. Many of these artists have studied at university art schools in New Zealand and continue to enjoy close links with the New Zealand art scene.[47]

New Zealand-based Cook Islander artists include Michel Tuffery, print-maker David Teata, Richard Shortland Cooper, Sylvia Marsters and Jim Vivieaere.

On Rarotonga, the main commercial galleries are Beachcomber Contemporary Art (Taputapuatea, Avarua) run by Ben & Trevon Bergman,[48] and The Art Studio Gallery (Arorangi) run by Ian and Kay George.[49] The Cook Islands National Museum also exhibits art.[50]


Tiaré tahiti
Tiare māori, the national flower of the Cook Islands
  • The national flower of the Cook Islands is the Tiare māori or Tiale māoli (Penrhyn, Nassau, Pukapuka).[51]
  • The Cook Islands have a large non-native population of Kiore toka (Ship rat).[52] and Polynesian rat.[53] The rats have dramatically reduced the bird population on the islands.[54]
  • In April 2007, 27 Kuhl's lorikeet were re-introduced to Atiu from Rimatara. Fossil and oral traditions indicate that the species was formerly on at least five islands of the southern group. Excessive exploitation for its red feathers is the most likely reason for the species's extinction in the Cook Islands.[55]


Rugby league is the most popular sport in the Cook Islands.[56]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Cook Islands". The World Factbook.
  2. ^ UN THE WORLD TODAY (PDF) and Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs Supplement No. 8; page 10 Archived 19 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Census 2016 - Cook Islands - Ministry of Finance and Economic Management". Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  5. ^ "UN Data". Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  6. ^ Cook Islands Maori dictionary by Jasper Buse & Raututi Taringa, Cook Islands Ministry of Education (1995) page 200
  7. ^ A View from the Cook Islands. SOPAC
  8. ^ "Cook Islands 2011 census". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  9. ^ "2013 Census ethnic group profiles". Statistics NZ. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  10. ^ "The Cook Islands Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update For the Financial Year 2010/2011" (PDF). Cook Islands Ministry of Finance & Economic Management. December 2010. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2012.
  11. ^ a b "Cook Islands to choose new indigenous name and remove any association with British explorer". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 March 2019 – via
  12. ^ a b "Cook Islands government backs name change body". Radio New Zealand. 2019-03-05. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  13. ^ Cook Islands (archived from the original on 19 March 2012).
  14. ^ Hooker, Brian (1998). "European discovery of the Cook Islands". Terrae Incognitae. 30 (1): 54–62. doi:10.1179/tin.1998.30.1.54.
  15. ^ Thomas, Nicholas (2003). Cook : the extraordinary voyages of Captain James Cook, Walker & Company, ISBN 0802714129, pp. 310–311.
  16. ^ "Cook Islands Government website". Archived from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  17. ^ "Ten Decades: The Australasian Centenary History of the London Missionary Society, Rev. Joseph King (Word document)". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  18. ^ "History of the Cook Islands". Ck/history. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  19. ^ Robert Langdon (ed.) Where the whalers went: an index to the Pacific ports and islands visited by American whalers (and some other ships) in the 19th century, (1984) Canberra, Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, pp16 & 24.
  20. ^ a b c d "Commonwealth and Colonial Law" by Kenneth Roberts-Wray, London, Stevens, 1966. P. 891
  21. ^ N.Z. Parliamentary Pp., A3 (1901)
  22. ^ "Commonwealth and Colonial Law" by Kenneth Roberts-Wray, London, Stevens, 1966. P. 761
  23. ^ N.Z. Parliamentary Pp., A1 (1900)
  24. ^ S.R.O. & S.I. Rev. XVI, 862–863
  25. ^ 58 & 59 V. c. 34.
  26. ^ 3. Aliens and citizens – Citizenship – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. (4 March 2009). Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  27. ^ "Cook Islands Travel Guide" (with description), World Travel Guide, Nexus Media Communications, 2006. Webpage: WTGuide-Cook-Islands Archived 26 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ Cook Islands Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, 2016 Census
  29. ^ "Cook Islands System of Government Information". Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  30. ^ "Repertory of Practice" (PDF), (8), p. 10, archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2013
  31. ^ "The World today" (PDF),
  32. ^ "Treaty Between the United States of America and the Cook Islands on Friendship and Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary Between the United States of America and the Cook Islands (and Exchange of Notes)". Pacific Islands Treaty Series. University of the South Pacific School of Law. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  33. ^ "Agreement on Maritime Delimitation Between the Government of the Cook Islands and the Government of the French Republic". Pacific Islands Treaty Series. University of the South Pacific School of Law. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  34. ^ "State Sponsored Homophobia 2016: A world survey of sexual orientation laws: criminalisation, protection and recognition" (PDF). International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  35. ^ Larmour, Peter and Barcham, Manuhuia. Cook Islands 2004, Transparency International Country Study Report.
  36. ^ "Rarotonga Local Government (Repeal) Bill To Be Tabled, Cook Islands Government". Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  37. ^ Minister asked to answer queries over abolition of Vaka Councils. The Cook Islands Herald, No. 393 (9 February 2008)
  38. ^ "Demographic Yearbook, Population by age, sex and urban/rural residence: latest available year, 2005–2014" (PDF). UN Data. United Nations. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  39. ^ "United Nations Statistics Division – Demographic and Social Statistics". Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  40. ^ Polynesia French Business Law Handbook: Strategic Information and Laws ISBN 1-4387-7081-2 p. 130
  41. ^ a b c d e Wayne, Leslie (14 December 2013). "Cook Islands, a Paradise of Untouchable Assets". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  42. ^ Rosen, Howard; Donlevy-Rosen, Patricia. "Review of Offshore Jurisdictions: Cook Islands". The Asset Protection News.
  43. ^ "Standing male figure – Google Arts & Culture". Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  44. ^ "Lords of the Dance : Culture of the Cook Islands". Ck. 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  45. ^ "Lords of the Dance : Culture of the Cook Islands". Ck. 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  46. ^ "Tivaevae – Quilts of the Cook Islands". Ck. 2004-07-15. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  47. ^ "The Cook Islands Arts Community". Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  48. ^ "BCA Gallery, Beachcomber Art, Rarotonga Art, Cook Islands Art, Pacifc Art, South Pacific Art". Archived from the original on 16 December 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  49. ^ "Ian George – Tautai – Guiding Pacific Artstautai – Guiding Pacific Arts". TAUTAI. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  50. ^ "Cook Islands Museum and Library Society | Official Website of the Cook Islands Library & Museum Society". 1964-12-22. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  51. ^ "Cook Islands Wildlife". Archived from the original on 2007-12-21.
  52. ^ "Cook Islands Biodiversity: Rattus rattus – Ship Rat". Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  53. ^ "Cook Islands Biodiversity: Rattus exulans – Pacific Rat". Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  54. ^ "Cook Islands Biodiversity: The Status of Cook Islands Birds – 1996". 24 September 2005. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  55. ^ "BirdLife International: Rimatara Lorikeet (Vini kuhlii) at". Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  56. ^ "Cook Islands Financial Strife". We Are Rugby. Archived from the original on 6 December 2011.

Further reading

  • Gilson, Richard. The Cook Islands 1820–1950. Wellington, New Zealand: Victoria University Press, 1980. ISBN 0-7055-0735-1

External links


Akava'ine is a Cook Islands Māori word which has come, since the 2000s, to refer to transgender people of Māori descent from the Cook Islands.

It may be an old custom but has a contemporary identity influenced by other Polynesians, through cross-cultural interaction of Polynesians living in New Zealand, especially the Samoan "Fa'afafine", transgender people who hold a special place in Sāmoan society.

Cook Islands Māori

Cook Islands Māori is an Eastern Polynesian language. It is the official language of the Cook Islands and is an indigenous language of the Realm of New Zealand. Cook Islands Māori is closely related to New Zealand Māori but is a distinct language. Cook Islands Māori is simply called Māori when there is no need to disambiguate it from New Zealand Māori, but it is also known as Māori Kūki 'Āirani (or Maori Kuki Airani), or, controversially, Rarotongan. Many Cook Islanders also call it Te reo Ipukarea, literally "the language of the Ancestral Homeland".

Cook Islands at the 2000 Summer Olympics

On behalf of the Cook Islands, the Cook Islands Sports and Olympic Association (renamed the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee in 2002 sent a team that competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Cook Islands at the 2004 Summer Olympics

The Cook Islands competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, from 13 to 29 August 2004.

Cook Islands at the 2012 Summer Olympics

Cook Islands, represented by eight athletes, competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London from 27 July to 12 August 2012. This was the nation's seventh appearance at the Olympics.

Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee sent the nation's largest delegation to these Olympic games. A total of 8 athletes, 3 men and 5 women, had competed in 5 different sporting events; half of them had been given Universality places by the International Olympic Committee. For the first time in its history, Cook Islands was represented by more female than male athletes at an Olympic event. Slalom and sprint canoeing was the nation's only sport to debut at these Olympic games. Laser Radial sailor Helema Williams was the nation's flag bearer at the opening ceremony. Cook Islands, however, has yet to win an Olympic medal.

Cook Islands at the Olympics

The Cook Islands has competed in eight Summer Olympic Games. It has never competed in the Winter Games. The Cook Islands has yet to win a medal as of 2016.

The Cook Islands is the only one of the associated territories of New Zealand to compete at the Olympic Games, Niue and Tokelau having not yet done so as of 2016.

Cook Islands national football team

The Cook Islands national football team is governed by the Cook Islands Football Association. With a population of around 18,000 people it remains one of the smallest FIFA teams.

Cook Islands national rugby league team

The Cook Islands national rugby league team has been participating in international rugby league football competition since 1986. The team is controlled by the governing body for rugby league in Cook Islands, Cook Islands Rugby League Association (CIRLA), which is currently a member of the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC). They are currently ranked 43 in the RLIF World Rankings.

Cook Islands national rugby sevens team

The Cook Islands national rugby sevens team is a minor national sevens side. They qualified for the 2014 Hong Kong Sevens tournament and played in the World Series Qualifiers.

Cook Islands national rugby union team

The Cook Islands is a third tier rugby union playing nation. They began playing international rugby in the early 1971. Thus far, the Cook Islands have not made an appearance at any of the World Cups.

Kingdom of Rarotonga

The Kingdom of Rarotonga, (Cook Islands Māori: Mātāmuatanga Rarotonga) named after the island of Rarotonga, was an independent kingdom established in the present-day Cook Islands in 1858. In 1888 it became a protectorate of the United Kingdom by its own request. In 1893 the name was changed to the Cook Islands Federation.

List of Cook Islands records in athletics

The following are the national records in athletics in the Cook Islands maintained by the Cook Island's national athletics federation: Athletics Cook Islands (ACI).

List of airlines of the Cook Islands

This is a list of airlines currently operating in Cook Islands.

Miss Cook Islands

The Miss Cook Islands is the national beauty pageant in the Cook Islands in under Miss Cook Islands Association (MCIA). The current reigning titleholder is Reihana Koteka-Wiki (born May 10, 1992).

Parliament of the Cook Islands

The Parliament of the Cook Islands is the legislature of the Cook Islands. Originally established under New Zealand’s United Nations mandate it became the national legislature on independence in 1965.

The Parliament consists of 24 members directly elected by universal suffrage from single-seat constituencies. Members are elected for a limited term, and hold office until Parliament is dissolved (a maximum of four years). It meets in the capital of Rarotonga.

The Cook Islands follows the Westminster system of government, and is governed by a cabinet and Prime Minister commanding a majority in Parliament.

The Speaker of the House is currently Niki Rattle. The Deputy Speaker is Rose Toki-Brown.

Prime Minister of the Cook Islands

The Prime Minister of the Cook Islands is the head of government of the Cook Islands, a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand. The office was established in 1965, when self-government was first granted to the islands. Originally, the title "Premier" was used, but this was replaced by the title of "Prime Minister" in 1981.


Rarotonga is the most populous island of the Cook Islands, with a population of 10,572 (census 2011), out of the country's total resident population of 14,974. Captain John Dibbs, master of the colonial brig Endeavour, is credited as the European discoverer on 25 July 1823, while transporting the missionary Rev. John Williams.

The Cook Islands' Parliament buildings and international airport are on Rarotonga. Rarotonga is a very popular tourist destination with many resorts, hotels and motels. The chief town, Avarua, on the north coast, is the capital of the Cook Islands.

Realm of New Zealand

The Realm of New Zealand is the entire area (or realm) in which the Queen of New Zealand is head of state. The Realm of New Zealand is not a federation; it is a collection of states and territories united under its monarch. New Zealand is an independent and sovereign state. It has one Antarctic territorial claim, the Ross Dependency; one dependent territory, Tokelau; and two associated states, the Cook Islands and Niue.The Ross Dependency has no permanent inhabitants, while Tokelau, the Cook Islands and Niue have native populations. Tokelau is formally classified as a non-self-governing territory; the Cook Islands and Niue are internally self-governing, with New Zealand retaining responsibility for defence and most foreign affairs. The Governor-General of New Zealand represents the Queen throughout the Realm of New Zealand, though the Cook Islands have an additional Queen's Representative.

Time in New Zealand

Time in New Zealand, by law, is divided into two standard time zones. The main islands use New Zealand Standard Time (NZST), 12 hours in advance of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) / military M (Mike), while the outlying Chatham Islands use Chatham Standard Time (CHAST), 12 hours 45 minutes in advance of UTC / military M^ (Mike-Three).During summer months—from the last Sunday in September until the first Sunday in April—daylight saving time is observed and clocks are advanced one hour. New Zealand Daylight Time (NZDT) is 13 hours ahead of UTC, and Chatham Daylight Time (CHADT) 13 hours 45 minutes ahead.New Zealand dependencies, the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau, use several different times zones at their own discretion.

Cook Islands articles
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Associate members
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