Cook Islands

Introduction Named after Captain COOK, who sighted them in 1770, the islands became a British protectorate in 1888. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to New Zealand; in 1965, residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand. The emigration of skilled workers to New Zealand and government deficits are continuing problems.
History

The Cook Islands were first settled in the 6th century A.D. by Polynesian people who migrated from nearby Tahiti, to the southeast.[4]

Spanish ships visited the islands in the late sixteenth century; the first written record of contact with the Islands came with the sighting of Pukapuka by Spanish sailor Álvaro de Mendaña in 1595 who called it San Bernardo ("Saint Bernard"). Another Spaniard, Pedro Fernández de Quirós, made the first recorded European landing in the islands when he set foot on Rakahanga in 1606, calling it Gente Hermosa ("Beautiful People").

British navigator Captain James Cook arrived in 1773 and 1779 and named the islands the Hervey Islands; the name "Cook Islands", in honour of Cook, appeared on a Russian naval chart published in the 1820s.[5]

In 1813, John Williams, a missionary on the Endeavour (not the same ship as that of Cook), made the first official sighting of the island of Rarotonga.[6]

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.[7]

The islands saw no more Europeans until missionaries arrived from England in 1821. Christianity quickly took hold in the culture and many islanders continue to be Christian believers today.

The Cook Islands became a British protectorate at their own request in 1888, mainly to thwart French expansionism. They were transferred to New Zealand in 1901. They remained a New Zealand protectorate until 1965, at which point they became a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand. In that year, Albert Henry of the Cook Islands Party was elected as the first Prime Minister. Sir Albert Henry led the country until he was accused of vote-rigging. He was succeeded in 1978 by Tom Davis of the Democratic Party.

Today, the Cook Islands are essentially independent ("self-governing in free association with New Zealand") but New Zealand is tasked with overseeing the country's defence.

On June 11, 1980, the United States signed a treaty with New Zealand specifying the maritime border between the Cook Islands and American Samoa and also relinquishing its claim to the islands of Penrhyn Island, Pukapuka (Danger), Manihiki, and Rakahanga.

Geography Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 21 14 S, 159 46 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 236.7 sq km
land: 236.7 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: 1.3 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 120 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical oceanic; moderated by trade winds; a dry season from April to November and a more humid season from December to March
Terrain: low coral atolls in north; volcanic, hilly islands in south
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Te Manga 652 m
Natural resources: NEGL
Land use: arable land: 16.67%
permanent crops: 8.33%
other: 75% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons (November to March)
Environment - current issues: NA
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: the northern Cook Islands are seven low-lying, sparsely populated, coral atolls; the southern Cook Islands, where most of the population lives, consist of eight elevated, fertile, volcanic isles, including the largest, Rarotonga, at 67 sq km
Politics

The politics of the Cook Islands takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic associated state, whereby the Queen of New Zealand, represented in the Cook Islands by the Queen's Representative, is Head of State and the Chief Minister is the head of government. There is a pluriform multi-party system and the islands are self-governing in free association with New Zealand and fully responsible for both internal and external affairs. New Zealand no longer has any responsibility for external affairs. As of 2005, it has diplomatic relations in its own name with eighteen other countries. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of the Cook Islands.

The Cook Islands are not United Nations full members but participate in WHO and UNESCO.

The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

People Population: 21,750 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 34.1% (male 2,718/female 2,388)
15-64 years: 59.5% (male 4,531/female 4,395)
65 years and over: 6.4% (male 489/female 469) (2001 census) (2001 census)
Median age: total: 25.3 years
male: 24.7 years
female: 25.9 years (2001 census)
Population growth rate: -1.2% between 1996-2001 (2001 census)
Birth rate: 21 births/1,000 population NA (2001 census)
Death rate: NA
Sex ratio: 1.07 male(s)/female (2001 census)
Infant mortality rate: total: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Life expectancy at birth: total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Total fertility rate: 3.1 children born/woman (2001 census)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Cook Islander(s)
adjective: Cook Islander
Ethnic groups: Cook Island Maori (Polynesian) 87.7%, part Cook Island Maori 5.8%, other 6.5% (2001 census)
Religions: Cook Islands Christian Church 55.9%, Roman Catholic 16.8%, Seventh-Day Adventists 7.9%, Church of Latter Day Saints 3.8%, other Protestant 5.8%, other 4.2%, unspecified 2.6%, none 3% (2001 census)
Languages: English (official), Maori
Literacy: definition: NA
total population: 95%
male: NA%
female: NA%
People - note: 2001 census counted a resident population of 15,017
Government Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cook Islands
former: Harvey Islands
Dependency status: self-governing in free association with New Zealand; Cook Islands is fully responsible for internal affairs; New Zealand retains responsibility for external affairs and defense, in consultation with the Cook Islands
Government type: self-governing parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Avarua
geographic coordinates: 21 12 S, 159 46 W
time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: none
Independence: none (became self-governing in free association with New Zealand on 4 August 1965 and has the right at any time to move to full independence by unilateral action)
National holiday: Constitution Day, first Monday in August (1965)
Constitution: 4 August 1965
Legal system: based on New Zealand law and English common law
Suffrage: NA years of age; universal (adult)
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Frederick GOODWIN (since 9 February 2001); New Zealand High Commissioner Brian DONNELLY (since 21 February 2008), representative of New Zealand
head of government: Prime Minister Jim MARURAI (since 14 December 2004); Deputy Prime Minister Terepai MAOATE (since 9 August 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister; collectively responsible to Parliament
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; the UK representative is appointed by the monarch; the New Zealand high commissioner is appointed by the New Zealand Government; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually becomes prime minister
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consisting of a Legislative Assembly (or lower house) (25 seats, 24 seats representing districts of the Cook Islands, 1 seat representing Cook Islanders living overseas; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and a House of Ariki (or upper house) made up of traditional leaders
note: the House of Ariki advises on traditional matters and maintains considerable influence but has no legislative powers
elections: last held 26 September 2006 (next to be held by 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - Demo 51.9%, CIP 45.5%, independent 2.7%; seats by party - Demo 15, CIP 8, independent 1
Judicial branch: High Court
Political parties and leaders: Cook Islands Party or CIP [Henry PUNA]; Democratic Party or Demo [Dr. Terepai MAOATE]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, ADB, FAO, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IOC, ITUC, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
Flag description: blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and a large circle of 15 white five-pointed stars (one for every island) centered in the outer half of the flag
Culture

the Cook Islands, Christian music is extremely popular. Imene tuki is a form of unaccompanied vocal music known for a uniquely Polynesian drop in pitch at the end of the phrases, as well as staccato rhythmic outbursts of nonsensical syllables (tuki). The word 'imene' is derived from the English word 'hymn' (see Tahitian: 'himene' - Tahiti was first colonised by the English). Likewise the harmonies and tune characteristics / 'strophe patterns' of much of the music of Polynesia is western in style and derived originally from missionary influence via hymns and other church music. One unique quality of Polynesian music (it has become almost a cliché) is the use of the sustained 6th chord in vocal music, though typically the 6th chord is not used in religious music. Traditional songs and hymns are referred to as imene metua (lit. hymn of the parent/ancestor).

Traditional dance is the most prominent art form of the Cook Islands. Each island has its own unique dances that are taught to all children, and each island is home to several annual competitions. Traditional dances are generally accompanied by the drumming of the paté.[1]

The Cook Islands drumming style is well-known internationally, but is often misidentified as an example of Tahitian music.[2] This is most uncommon as the Cook Islands have a strong connection to their Tahitian ancestry.

Harmony-singing church music and a wide variety of hymns and wedding and funeral music are found throughout the Cook Islands. There is much variation across the region, and each island has its own traditional songs.

Economy Economy - overview: Like many other South Pacific island nations, the Cook Islands' economic development is hindered by the isolation of the country from foreign markets, the limited size of domestic markets, lack of natural resources, periodic devastation from natural disasters, and inadequate infrastructure. Agriculture, employing about one-third of the working population, provides the economic base with major exports made up of copra and citrus fruit. Black pearls are the Cook Islands' leading export. Manufacturing activities are limited to fruit processing, clothing, and handicrafts. Trade deficits are offset by remittances from emigrants and by foreign aid, overwhelmingly from New Zealand. In the 1980s and 1990s, the country lived beyond its means, maintaining a bloated public service and accumulating a large foreign debt. Subsequent reforms, including the sale of state assets, the strengthening of economic management, the encouragement of tourism, and a debt restructuring agreement, have rekindled investment and growth.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $183.2 million (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $183.2 million (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.1% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $9,100 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 15.1%
industry: 9.6%
services: 75.3% (2004)
Labor force: 6,820 (2001)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 29%
industry: 15%
services: 56% (1995)
Unemployment rate: 13.1% (2005)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.1% (2005 est.)
Budget: revenues: $70.95 million
expenditures: $69.05 million (FY05/06)
Agriculture - products: copra, citrus, pineapples, tomatoes, beans, pawpaws, bananas, yams, taro, coffee; pigs, poultry
Industries: fruit processing, tourism, fishing, clothing, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate: 1% (2002)
Electricity - production: 30 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 27.9 million kWh (2005 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption: 450 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 429.3 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: $26.67 million (2005)
Exports: $5.222 million (2005)
Exports - commodities: copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit, coffee; fish; pearls and pearl shells; clothing
Exports - partners: Australia 34%, Japan 27%, NZ 25%, US 8% (2006)
Imports: $81.04 million (2005)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber, capital goods
Imports - partners: NZ 61%, Fiji 19%, US 9%, Australia 6%, Japan 2% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $13.1 million; note - New Zealand continues to furnish the greater part (1995)
Debt - external: $141 million (1996 est.)
Currency (code): NZ dollar (NZD)
Currency code: NZD
Exchange rates: NZ dollars per US dollar - 1.3811 (2007), 1.5408 (2006), 1.4203 (2005), 1.5087 (2004), 1.7221 (2003)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 6,200 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 1,500 (2002)
Telephone system: general assessment: Telecom Cook Islands offers international direct dialing, Internet, email, fax, and Telex
domestic: the individual islands are connected by a combination of satellite earth stations, microwave systems, and VHF and HF radiotelephone; within the islands, service is provided by small exchanges connected to subscribers by open-wire, cable, and fiber-optic cable
international: country code - 682; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (2004)
Radios: 14,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (outer islands receive satellite broadcasts) (2004)
Televisions: 4,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .ck
Internet hosts: 1,479 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (2000)
Internet users: 3,600 (2002)
Transportation Airports: 9 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways: total: 320 km
paved: 33 km
unpaved: 287 km (2003)
Merchant marine: total: 16 ships (1000 GRT or over) 112,129 GRT/126,160 DWT
by type: cargo 5, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 9, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 11 (Norway 1, NZ 1, Sweden 9) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Avatiu
Military Military branches: no regular military forces; National Police Department (2007)
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of New Zealand, in consultation with the Cook Islands and at its request
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: none