Cook Islands Facts

Cook Islands Facts and History


The Cook Islands consist of a group of 15 islands. They are located about 3,500 km northeast of New Zealand and are voluntarily associated with New Zealand. B. is responsible for the defense of the archipelago. The head of state is the English king. The Federal Republic of Germany has recognized the Cook Islands as a separate state and maintains its own diplomatic relations with the archipelago.

The main island of Rarotonga is a very popular travel destination for package tourists from New Zealand.

Name of the country Cook Islands, Cook IslandsCook Islands
Form of government Self-governing monarchy associated with New Zealand (NZ)
Geographical location Approx. 3,500 km northeast of NZ
National anthem Te Atua Mou E.
Population approx. 20,000 (Credit: Countryaah: Cook Islands Population)
Ethnicities 81.3% Polynesians (Cook Islands Maori),7.7% Polynesian-Europeans,

7.7% Polynesians-Non-Europeans,

2.4% Europeans

Religions 70% Protestants, 7% Catholics and others
Languages English, Maori, Pukapuka
Capital Avarua
Surface 240 km²
Highest mountain Te Manga, at 652 m
International license plate NZ
Currency New Zealand dollars
Time difference to CET -11 h
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .ck

Cook Islands: history

Until around the year 1000

Excavations by Japanese scientists uncovered indications that human life must have existed on the islands around 5,000 years ago. The residents of the Cook Islands are and were Polynesians.

From the year 1000 to the 17th century

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the first contact of Europeans with the islands took place in 1595 through the Spaniard Alvaro de Mendaña de Neyra (1541-1595), who sighted the island of Pukapuka, but did not set it. In 1606, however, the Spaniard Pedro Fernández de Quirós (1555-1614) landed on the island of Rakahanga. The English reached Pukapuka in 1764 and named the island “Danger Island” because they couldn’t land because of the surf and reefs. Between 1773 and 1779 James Cook (1728-1779) landed on some of the islands of what is now the Cook Islands. But he never reached or sighted Rarotonga, the largest of the islands.

Captain Bligh (1754-1817) of the “Bounty” landed on Aituaki in 1789. The name Cook Islands comes from the Russians in honor of James Cook.

In the 19th century until today

The first visual encounter with Rarotonga did not take place until 1813 and the first known landing in 1814. This expedition by Australians and New Zealanders served commercial purposes and to find the sandalwood, which did not exist there.

In the course of the expedition there were fighting with the natives and subsequently numerous deaths. Among the dead was the captain’s mistress, Ann Butcher. She was killed by the natives and then eaten. By the way, her remains are buried in Muri, in the southeast of the island. Ann Butcher is considered to be the only white woman to ever fall victim to cannibals in the South Pacific.

In 1821, John Williams (1796-1839) became the first missionary to land on the archipelago. At that time, however, Christianity only brought misery and oppression and, in addition, a bigoted morality.

On October 7, 1900, the Cook Islands were annexed to New Zealand. But already in 1903 the islands were placed under a separate administration. Until 1965, the Cook Islands remained under a “benign negligence” from New Zealand. A first step towards more self-government was taken in 1946 with the election of a legislative assembly (council).

Cook Islands Facts