Monarchy in the Cook Islands

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The Cook Islands are a constitutional monarchy within the Realm of New Zealand. Under the Cook Islands Constitution, the Sovereign in Right of New Zealand (currently Elizabeth II) has been Head of State of the Cook Islands since 4 August 1965. The Sovereign is represented by the Queen's Representative; as such, the Queen is the de jure head of state, holding several powers that are hers alone, while the Queen's Representative is sometimes referred to as the de facto head of state. The viceregal position is currently held by Tom Marsters.

Cook Islands Island country in the South Pacific Ocean

The Cook Islands 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.

A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the sovereign exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy in that constitutional monarchs are bound to exercise their powers and authorities within the limits prescribed within an established legal framework. Constitutional monarchies range from countries such as Morocco, where the constitution grants substantial discretionary powers to the sovereign, to countries such as Japan and Sweden where the monarch retains no formal authorities.

Realm of New Zealand entire area (or realm) in which the Queen of New Zealand is head of state

The Realm of New Zealand is the entire area 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.

Contents

The Queen's official title is: Elizabeth the Second, By the Grace of God, Queen of New Zealand and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith .

By the Grace of God is an introductory part of the full styles of a monarch historically considered to be ruling by divine right, not a title in its own right. In the United Kingdom, for example, the phrase was added to the royal style in 1521 and has continued to be used to this day. According to the "Royal Proclamation reciting the altered Style and Titles of the Crown" of May 29, 1953, the latest such change of royal title, Elizabeth II's present full title is

Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

Head of the Commonwealth

The Head of the Commonwealth is the "symbol of the free association of independent member nations" of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation that currently comprises fifty-three sovereign states. There is no set term of office or term limit and the role itself involves no part in the day-to-day governance of any of the member states within the Commonwealth.

The heir apparent is Elizabeth II's eldest son, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.

An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in a line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone who is first in line to inherit a title but who can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir.

Charles, Prince of Wales Son of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II. He has been Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay since 1952, and is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He is also the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held that title since 1958.

Constitutional

In 1965 Queen Elizabeth II became Head of State of the Cook Islands when the country obtained a position of free-association with New Zealand.

An associated state is the minor partner in a formal, free relationship between a political territory with a degree of statehood and a nation, for which no other specific term, such as protectorate, is adopted. The details of such free association are contained in United Nations General Assembly resolution 1541 (XV) Principle VI, a Compact of Free Association or Associated Statehood Act and are specific to the countries involved. In the case of the Cook Islands and Niue, the details of their free association arrangement are contained in several documents, such as their respective constitutions, the 1983 Exchange of Letters between the governments of New Zealand and the Cook Islands, and the 2001 Joint Centenary Declaration. Free associated states can be described as independent or not, but free association is not a qualification of an entity's statehood or status as a subject of international law.

Article 2 of the Cook Islands Constitution states that "Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand shall be the Head of State of the Cook Islands." [1] The expression "in Right of New Zealand" refers directly to the constitutional concept of the "Realm of New Zealand," as described in the 1983 Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor-General of New Zealand , approved by the Cook Islands after consultation with New Zealand. In clause 1, the Realm of New Zealand is defined as including New Zealand, the self-governing state of the Cook Islands, the self-governing state of Niue, Tokelau and the Ross Dependency.

Governor-General of New Zealand representative of the monarch of New Zealand

The Governor-General of New Zealand is the viceregal representative of the monarch of New Zealand, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is concurrently the monarch of 15 other Commonwealth realms, and lives in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her Prime Minister of New Zealand, appoints a governor-general to carry out her constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Niue island country in the South Pacific Ocean

Niue is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand, east of Tonga, south of Samoa, and west of the Cook Islands. Niue's land area is about 261 square kilometres (101 sq mi) and its population, predominantly Polynesian, was about 1,600 in 2016. The island is commonly referred to as "The Rock", which comes from the traditional name "Rock of Polynesia". Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. The terrain of the island has two noticeable levels. The higher level is made up of a limestone cliff running along the coast, with a plateau in the centre of the island reaching approximately 60 metres high above sea level. The lower level is a coastal terrace approximately 0.5 km wide and about 25–27 metres high, which slopes down and meets the sea in small cliffs. A coral reef surrounds the island, with the only major break in the reef being in the central western coast, close to the capital, Alofi. A notable feature are the many limestone caves near the coast.

Thus, Queen Elizabeth II, by virtue of being Head of State of her entire Realm of New Zealand, as described in the Letters Patent, is also Head of State of that part of her Realm of New Zealand referred to in the Letters Patent as "the self-governing state of the Cook Islands."

The New Zealand - Cook Islands Joint Centenary Declaration states that:

Succession

Royal succession is governed by the Royal Succession Act 2013. [3] This legislation lays out the rules that the Monarch cannot be a Roman Catholic, and must be in communion with the Church of England upon ascending the throne.

Royal Succession Act 2013

The Royal Succession Act is an act of the New Zealand parliament to alter the laws of succession to the New Zealand throne.

Church of England Anglican church in England, by law established

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

Queen's Representative and Governor-General

The Queen's constitutional roles in the Cook Islands have been almost entirely delegated to the Queen's Representative.

Originally the viceregal representative was titled as High Commissioner and was appointed by the Governor-General of New Zealand on the recommendation of the Minister of the Government of New Zealand who was deemed responsible for matters relating to the Cook Islands, and after consultation with the Premier of the Cook Islands. In the early 1980s, the Cook Island Constitution was amended so that the words "Queen's Representative" were substituted for the word "High Commissioner," [4] and the words "Prime Minister" were substituted for the word "Premier." [5] Further, the 1981 Constitution Amendment decreed that the Queen's representative was appointed directly by the Queen herself; not the Governor-General of New Zealand. The text states that "[there] shall be a representative of Her Majesty the Queen in the Cook Islands, to be known as the Queen's Representative [to be appointed] by Her Majesty the Queen..." [1]

Article 5 of the Constitution states that the Queen's Representative is to act on the advice of her Cook Islands Ministers: "The Queen's Representative in the performance of his functions as the representative of Her Majesty the Queen shall act on the advice of Cabinet, the Prime Minister, or the appropriate Minister as the case may be..." [1]

Over the Realm of New Zealand, the Letters Patent established the office of the Governor-General, and provide that the Governor-General is "[the Queen's] representative in [the] Realm of New Zealand" who may exercise his or her powers and authorities "without prejudice to the office, powers, or authorities of any other person who has been or may be appointed to represent [Her Majesty] in any part of [her] Realm of New Zealand and to exercise powers and authorities on [her] behalf." [6] However, the relationship between the Governor-General of New Zealand and the Queen's Representative is quite different. Under the Cook Islands' Constitution, executive power is "vested in Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand... the executive authority of the Cook Islands may be exercised on behalf of Her Majesty by the Queen's Representative either directly or through officers subordinate to him. [1] This leaves the Governor-General with only an indirect constitutional role in the form of the defence and external affairs prerogatives, arising from the Governor-General's constitutional position in terms of the Realm as a whole. Any viceregal powers and responsibilities in the Cook Islands are vested in the Queen's Representative, leaving the Governor-General with no substantive role in relation to the territory.[ citation needed ]

Royal assent

Royal assent and proclamation are required for all acts of Parliament; usually granted by the Queen’s Representative.

Symbols of monarchy

References to the monarch are commonplace in public life in the Cook Islands. There are references to the Crown in legal documents, Oaths of office taken by the Queen's Representative, Members of Parliament and Judges of the High Court, and prescriptions in the Constitution require allegiance to be sworn to the reigning Sovereign as the Head of State of the Cook Islands.

Unlike in the United Kingdom, the Queen's Official Birthday is a public holiday on the first Monday in June. The Queen's portrait appears on the obverse of coins, and all banknotes feature the portrait of the Queen as the watermark. However, only the $20 banknote bears her image as the main feature (Cook Islands use the New Zealand dollar).

The Queen undertook a royal tour of the Cook Islands between 28 January and 29 January 1974. [7]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Constitution of the Cook Islands
  2. Joint Centenary Declaration of the Principles of the Relationship Between New Zealand and the Cook Islands
  3. Royal Succession Act 2013 as at 26 March 2015
  4. Constitution Amendment (No 10) Act 1981–82
  5. Constitution Amendment (No 9) Act 1980–81
  6. Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor-General of New Zealand
  7. "Commonwealth visits since 1952". royal.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2018.

See also