Cook Islands

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Coordinates: 21°14′S159°46′W / 21.233°S 159.767°W / -21.233; -159.767


Cook Islands

Kūki 'Āirani
Anthem:  Te Atua Mou E
(English: "God is Truth")
Cook Islands on the globe (Polynesia centered).svg
and largest city
21°12′S159°46′W / 21.200°S 159.767°W / -21.200; -159.767
Official languages
Spoken languages
  • English (86.4%)
  • Cook Islands Māori (76.2%)
  • Other (8.3%) [1]
Ethnic groups
(2016 census [2] )
Demonym(s) Cook Islander
Government Unitary constitutional monarchy
Elizabeth II
Tom Marsters
Mark Brown
Tou Travel Ariki
Legislature Parliament
Associated state of New Zealand
4 August 1965
 UN recognition of independence in foreign relations
1992 [3]
236.7 km2 (91.4 sq mi)(unranked)
 2016 census
17,459 [4] (223rd)
42/km2 (108.8/sq mi)(138th)
GDP  (nominal)2018 estimate
$363 million [5] (not ranked)
 Per capita
$20,721.5(not ranked)
Currency New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Cook Islands dollar
Time zone UTC-10 (CKT)
Driving side left
Calling code +682
ISO 3166 code CK
Internet TLD .ck
  1. ^ As per the Te Reo Maori Act.

The Cook Islands (Cook Islands Māori: Kūki 'Āirani) [6] are 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 (93 sq mi). The Cook Islands' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers 1,960,027 square kilometres (756,771 sq mi) of ocean. [7]

New Zealand is responsible for the Cook Islands' defence and foreign affairs, but these responsibilities are exercised in consultation with the Cook Islands. [8] In recent times, the Cook Islands have adopted an increasingly independent foreign policy. [9] Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, but they also have the status of Cook Islands nationals, which is not given to other New Zealand citizens. The Cook Islands have been an active member of the Pacific Community since 1980.

The Cook Islands' main population centres are on the island of Rarotonga (13,007 in 2016), [10] where there is an international airport. There is also 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. [11]

With over 168,000 visitors travelling to the islands in 2018, [12] tourism is the country's main industry, and the leading element of the economy, ahead of offshore banking, pearls, and marine and fruit exports.


The Cook Islands were first settled around AD 1000 [13] by Polynesian people who are thought to have migrated from Tahiti, [14] an island 1,154 kilometres (717 mi) to the northeast of the main island of Rarotonga.

The first European contact with the islands took place in 1595 when the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira sighted the island of Pukapuka, which he named San Bernardo (Saint Bernard). Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, a Portuguese captain at the service of the Spanish Crown, made the first European landing in the islands when he set foot on Rakahanga in 1606, calling the island Gente Hermosa (Beautiful People). [15]

The British navigator Captain James Cook arrived in 1773 and again in 1777 [16] 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 by Adam Johann von Krusenstern in the 1820s. [17]

In 1813 John Williams, a missionary on the Endeavour (not the same ship as Cook's) made the first recorded European sighting of Rarotonga. [18] 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. [19] 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. [20]

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. [21] Their favourite islands were Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Mangaia and Penrhyn.

Governor Lord Ranfurly reading the annexation proclamation to Queen Makea on 7 October 1900. Cook Islands Annexation Ceremony.jpg
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' leaders presented a petition asking that the islands (including Niue "if possible") should be annexed as British territory. [22] [23] 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. [22] However, it did not include Aitutaki. Even though the inhabitants regarded themselves as British subjects, the Crown's title was unclear until the island was formally annexed by that Proclamation. [24] [25] In 1901 the islands were included within the boundaries of the Colony of New Zealand by Order in Council [26] under the Colonial Boundaries Act, 1895 of the United Kingdom. [22] [27] The boundary change became effective on 11 June 1901, and the Cook Islands have had a formal relationship with New Zealand since that time. [22]

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. [28] The islands remained a New Zealand dependent territory until the New Zealand Government decided to grant them self-governing status. On 4 August 1965, a constitution was promulgated. The first Monday in August is celebrated each year as Constitution Day. [29] Albert Henry of the Cook Islands Party was elected as the first Premier and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. [20] Henry led the nation until 1978, when he was accused of vote-rigging and resigned. He was stripped of his knighthood in 1979. [20] He was succeeded by Tom Davis of the Democratic Party who held that position until March 1983. [30]

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'". [31] [32] It was later reported in May 2019 that the proposed name change had been poorly received by the Cook Islands diaspora. As a compromise, it was decided that the English name of the islands would not be altered, but that a new Cook Islands Māori name would be adopted to replace the current name, a transliteration from English. [33] Discussions over the name continued in 2020. [34]


Map of the Cook Islands Wyspy Cooka.png
Map of the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are in the South Pacific Ocean, north-east of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and American Samoa. There are 15 major islands spread over 2,200,000 km2 (850,000 sq mi) of ocean, divided into two distinct groups: the Southern Cook Islands and the Northern Cook Islands of coral atolls. [35]

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. From March to December, the Cook Islands are in the path of tropical cyclones, the most notable of which were the cyclones Martin and Percy. [36] Two terrestrial ecoregions lie within the islands' territory: Central Polynesian tropical moist forests and Cook Islands tropical moist forests. [37]

Northern Penrhyn 1022622.6
Northern Rakahanga 48020.0
Northern Manihiki 521342.6
Northern Pukapuka 1444444.0
Northern Tema Reef (submerged)00-
Northern Nassau 17878.0
Northern Suwarrow 000.0
Southern Palmerston 25828.0
Southern Aitutaki 181,928107.1
Southern Manuae 600.0
Southern Takutea 100.0
Southern Mitiaro 221557.1
Southern Atiu 2743716.2
Southern Mauke 1829716.5
Southern Winslow Reef (submerged)00-
Southern Rarotonga 6713,044194.7
Southern Mangaia 524999.6

The table is ordered from north to south. Population figures from the 2016 census. [38]

Politics and foreign relations

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

The Cook Islands are 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 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. [39]

The islands are self-governing in "free association" with New Zealand. New Zealand retains primary responsibility for external affairs, acting in 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 2018, the Cook Islands had diplomatic relations in its own name with 52 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 the United Nations Secretariat, [40] [41] and is a full member of the WHO, UNESCO, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, all UN specialised agencies, and 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 Island, Pukapuka, Manihiki, and Rakahanga. [42] In 1990 the Cook Islands and France signed a treaty that delimited the boundary between the Cook Islands and French Polynesia. [43] In late August 2012, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the islands. In 2017, the Cook Islands signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. [44]

Human rights

Male homosexuality is illegal in the Cook Islands and is punishable by a maximum term of seven years imprisonment. [45]

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.

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

The three Vaka councils of Rarotonga established in 1997 (Rarotonga Local Government Act 1997), also headed by mayors, [46] were abolished in February 2008, despite much controversy. [47] [48]

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 [49]

Births and deaths [50]

YearPopulationLive birthsDeathsNatural increaseCrude birth rateCrude death rateRate of natural increase


In the Cook Islands the Church is separate from the state, and most of the population is Christian. [51] The religious distribution is as follows:

Church in Avarua, Rarotonga

The various Protestant groups account for 62.8% of the believers, the most followed denomination being the Cook Islands Christian Church with 49.1%. Other Protestant Christian groups include Seventh-day Adventist 7.9%, Assemblies of God 3.7% Apostolic Church 2.1%. The main non-Protestant group is Roman Catholics with 17% of the population. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes up 4.4%. [51]


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. [52] 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. [53] [54] 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. [53] 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. [53] Taxes on trusts and trust employees account for some 8% of the Cook Islands economy, behind tourism but ahead of fishing. [53]

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. [53]


There are eleven airports in the Cook Islands, including one with a paved runway, Rarotonga International Airport, [55] served by four passenger airlines.



Newspapers in the Cook Islands are usually published in English with some articles in Cook Islands Māori. [56] The Cook Islands News has been published since 1945, although it was owned by the government until 1989. [57] Former newspapers include Te Akatauira, which was published from 1978 to 1980. [56]

Float parade during the annual Maeva Nui celebrations. Rarotonga-8-Maeva-Nui.jpg
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. [58]


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

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

Public holidays



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. [59]


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. [60]


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. [61]

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. [62]

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, [63] and The Art Studio Gallery (Arorangi) run by Ian and Kay George. [64] The Cook Islands National Museum also exhibits art. [65]


Tiare maori, the national flower of the Cook Islands Tiare tahiti.jpg
Tiare māori , the national flower of the Cook Islands


Rugby league is the most popular sport in the Cook Islands. [72]

See also

Related Research Articles

History of the Cook Islands Historical development of the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are named after Captain James Cook, who visited the islands in 1773 and 1777, although Spanish navigator Alvaro de Mendaña was the first European to reach the islands in 1595. The Cook Islands became a British protectorate in 1888.

Geography of the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands can be divided into two groups: the Southern Cook Islands and the Northern Cook Islands. The country is located in Oceania, in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand.

Like most countries and territories in Oceania, telecommunications in the Cook Islands is limited by its isolation and low population, with only one major television broadcasting station and six radio stations. However, most residents have a main line or mobile phone. Its telecommunications are mainly provided by Telecom Cook Islands, who is currently working with O3b Networks, Ltd. for faster Internet connection.

In Polynesian languages the word aitu refers to ghosts or spirits, often malevolent. The word is common to many languages of Western and Eastern Polynesia. In the mythology of Tonga, for example, ʻaitu or ʻeitu are lesser gods, many being patrons of specific villages and families. They often take the form of plants or animals, and are often more cruel than other gods. These trouble-making gods are regarded as having come from Samoa. The Tongan word tangi lauʻaitu means to cry from grief, to lament.

Rarotonga Island of the Cook Islands

Rarotonga is the largest and most populous of the Cook Islands, with a population of 10,649, out of the country's total resident population of 17,434. Captain John Dibbs, master of the colonial brig Endeavour, is credited as the European discoverer on 25 July 1823, while transporting the missionary Reverend John Williams.

Flag of the Cook Islands National flag

The flag of the Cook Islands, officially known as the Cook Islands Ensign, is based on the traditional design for former British colonies in the Pacific region. It is a blue ensign containing the Union Flag in the upper left, and on the right, fifteen stars in a ring. The Union Flag is symbolic of the nation's historic ties to the United Kingdom and to the Commonwealth of Nations. The stars stand for the fifteen islands that make up the Cook Islands. The blue represents the ocean and the peaceful nature of the inhabitants.

Penrhyn atoll

Penrhyn is an atoll in the northern group of the Cook Islands in the south Pacific Ocean. The northernmost island in the group, it is located at 1,365 km (848 mi) north-north-east of the capital island of Rarotonga, 9 degrees south of the equator. Its nearest neighbours are Rakahanga, and Manihiki, approximately 350 kilometres (220 mi) to the southwest. Once one of the most heavily populated atolls, it was almost completely depopulated by Peruvian slavers in 1864.

Pukapuka Atoll in the northern Cook Islands

Pukapuka, formerly Danger Island, is a coral atoll in the northern group of the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is one of most remote islands of the Cook Islands, situated about 1,140 kilometres northwest of Rarotonga. On this small island, an ancient culture and distinct language has been maintained over many centuries. The traditional name for the atoll is Te Ulu-o-Te-Watu, and the northern islet where the people normally reside is affectionately known as Wale ('Home').

Pukapukan is a Polynesian language that developed in isolation on the island of Pukapuka in the northern group of the Cook Islands. As a "Samoic Outlier" language with strong links to western Polynesia, Pukapukan is not closely related to any other languages of the Cook Islands, but does manifest substantial borrowing from some East Polynesian source in antiquity.


Atiu, also known as Enuamanu, is an island of the Cook Islands archipelago, lying in the central-southern Pacific Ocean. Part of the Nga-pu-Toru, it is 214 km (133 mi) northeast of Rarotonga. The island's population has dropped by two-thirds in the last 50 years.

Cook Islands Māori is an Eastern Polynesian language that is the official language of the Cook Islands. Cook Islands Māori is closely related to New Zealand Māori, but is a distinct language in its own right. 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, controversially, Rarotongan. Many Cook Islanders also call it Te reo Ipukarea, literally "the language of the Ancestral Homeland".

Rakahanga-Manihiki is a Cook Islands Maori dialectal variant belonging to the Polynesian language family, spoken by about 2500 people on Rakahanga and Manihiki Islands and another 2500 in other countries, mostly New Zealand and Australia. Wurm and Hattori consider Rakahanga-Manihiki as a distinct language with "limited intelligibility with Rarotongan". According to the New Zealand Maori anthropologist Te Rangi Hīroa who spent a few days on Rakahanga in the years 1920, "the language is a pleasing dialect and has closer affinities with [New Zealand] Maori than with the dialects of Tongareva, Tahiti, and the Cook Islands"

House of Ariki

The House of Ariki is a parliamentary body in the Cook Islands. It is composed of Cook Islands high chiefs (ariki), appointed by the Queen's Representative. There are up to twenty-four members, representing different islands of the Cooks.

Cook Islands Cricket Association

Cook Islands Cricket Association is the official governing body of the sport of cricket in Cook Islands. Its current headquarters is in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Cook Islands Cricket Association is Cook Islands's representative at the International Cricket Council and is an affiliate member and has been a member of that body since 2000. It is also a member of the East Asia-Pacific Cricket Council. Cricket in the Cook Islands has been around for over a hundred years. The first official record of cricket is in 1910 with the registration of the Rarotonga Cricket Association, however photos pre date this to at least the late 19th century. In 2012 CICA was struck of the register. The CICA organises the Cook Islands men's and women's national teams.In 2017, became an associate member

Te Ariki Terau Mana Strickland was a Cook Island educator and politician. He was the Minister of Education in the first Cook Islands government after self-government was obtained in 1965.

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.

Culture of the Cook Islands

The culture of the Cook Islands reflects the traditions of its fifteen islands as a Polynesian island country, spread over 1,800,000 square kilometres (690,000 sq mi) in the South Pacific Ocean. It is in free association with New Zealand. Its traditions are based on the influences of those who settled the islands over several centuries. Polynesian people from Tahiti settled in the Cook Islands in the 6th century. The Portuguese captain, Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, made the first recorded European landing in the islands in the early 17th century, and well over a hundred years later, in the 18th century, the British navigator, Captain James Cook arrived, giving the islands their current name. Missionaries developed a written language, bringing schools and Christianity to the Cook Islands in the early 19th century. Cook Islands Māori, also known as Māori Kūki 'Āirani or Rarotongan, is the country's official language.

1947 Cook Islands Legislative Council election

Legislative Council elections were held in the Cook Islands in 1947, the first after the establishment of the new legislature.

Taio Shipping Shipping company in the Cook Islands

Taio Shipping is a shipping company in the Cook Islands. It is the islands main inter-island shipping company, and operates freight and passenger services between Rarotonga and the outer islands, with services once or twice a month to Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke and Mangaia, once every two months to Penrhyn, Rakahanga and Manihiki, and once every two and a half months to Palmerston and Pukapuka.

Cyclone Peni

Severe Tropical Cyclone Peni was the first and only tropical cyclone to impact and cause significant damage to the Cook Islands in the 1990 South Pacific cyclone season. A shallow area of low-pressure began to develop near Rakahanga, an island in the Cook Island chain. The storm had also formed on the South Pacific convergence zone. The storm was first recognized on February 12, and had received tropical cyclone characteristics on the 13th. At 21:00 UTC, the storm was recognized as Tropical Cyclone Peni. The storm then took a path southwest towards the Cook Islands, Peni made a narrow turn and passed close to Aitutaki. Peni had gained hurricane status on the 15th, at 06:00 UTC. Peni had been able to keep hurricane characteristics until February 17, when it was downgraded to a storm, and soon, was declared extratropical. The name Peni was retired from the naming list.


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Further reading