Australia-Oceania :: Cook Islands
(self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Cook Islands
Location of Cook Islands
 
Map of Cook Islands
Introduction ::Cook Islands
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.
Geography ::Cook Islands
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
21 14 S, 159 46 W
total: 236 sq km
country comparison to the world: 214
land: 236 sq km
water: 0 sq km
1.3 times the size of Washington, DC
0 km
120 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
tropical oceanic; moderated by trade winds; a dry season from April to November and a more humid season from December to March
low coral atolls in north; volcanic, hilly islands in south
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Te Manga 652 m
NEGL
arable land: 16.67%
permanent crops: 8.33%
other: 75% (2005)
NA
typhoons (November to March)
NA
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
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
People ::Cook Islands
11,870 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 224
0-14 years: 27.1% (male 1,704/female 1,508)
15-64 years: 63.7% (male 3,898/female 3,664)
65 years and over: 9.2% (male 540/female 556) (2009 est.)
total: 30.5 years
male: 29.8 years
female: 31.1 years (2009 est.)
-3.302% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 233
16.18 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
NA
urban population: 74% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: -0.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 16.9 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 118
male: 20.57 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 74.22 years
country comparison to the world: 90
male: 71.46 years
female: 77.13 years (2009 est.)
2.49 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
NA
NA
NA
noun: Cook Islander(s)
adjective: Cook Islander
Cook Island Maori (Polynesian) 87.7%, part Cook Island Maori 5.8%, other 6.5% (2001 census)
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)
English (official), Maori
definition: NA
total population: 95%
male: NA
female: NA
total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2005)
0.2% of GDP (2001)
country comparison to the world: 182
2001 census counted a resident population of 15,017
Government ::Cook Islands
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cook Islands
former: Harvey Islands
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
self-governing parliamentary democracy
name: Avarua
geographic coordinates: 21 12 S, 159 46 W
time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
none
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)
Constitution Day, first Monday in August (1965)
4 August 1965
based on New Zealand law and English common law
18 years of age; universal (adult)
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) represented by Sir Frederick GOODWIN (since 9 February 2001); New Zealand High Commissioner Tia BARRETT (since December 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: 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
bicameral Parliament consisting of a House of Ariki (or upper house) made up of traditional leaders and a Legislative Assembly (or lower house) (24 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
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
High Court
Cook Islands Party or CIP [Henry PUNA]; Democratic Party or Demo [Dr. Terepai MAOATE]
Reform Conference (lobby for political system changes)
other: various groups lobbying for political change
ACP, ADB, FAO, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IMSO, IOC, ITUC, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO
none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
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
Economy ::Cook Islands
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 more than one-quarter 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.
$183.2 million (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 216
$183.2 million (2005 est.)
0.1% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
$9,100 (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
agriculture: 15.1%
industry: 9.6%
services: 75.3% (2004)
6,820 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 211
agriculture: 29%
industry: 15%
services: 56% (1995)
13.1% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 144
NA%
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
revenues: $70.95 million
expenditures: $69.05 million (FY05/06)
2.1% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
copra, citrus, pineapples, tomatoes, beans, pawpaws, bananas, yams, taro, coffee; pigs, poultry
fruit processing, tourism, fishing, clothing, handicrafts
1% (2002)
country comparison to the world: 121
31 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
28.83 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
1,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
495 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 192
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
$26.67 million (2005)
country comparison to the world: 58
$5.222 million (2005)
country comparison to the world: 215
copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit, coffee; fish; pearls and pearl shells; clothing
$81.04 million (2005)
country comparison to the world: 209
foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber, capital goods
$141 million (1996 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
NZ dollars (NZD) per US dollar - 1.4151 (2008 est.), 1.3811 (2007), 1.5408 (2006), 1.4203 (2005), 1.5087 (2004)
Communications ::Cook Islands
6,700 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 210
6,700 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 212
general assessment: Telecom Cook Islands offers international direct dialing, Internet, email, fax, and Telex
domestic: 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)
AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (2004)
1 (outer islands receive satellite broadcasts) (2004)
.ck
2,480 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 147
5,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 203
Transportation ::Cook Islands
9 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 157
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2009)
total: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
total: 320 km
country comparison to the world: 200
paved: 33 km
unpaved: 287 km (2003)
total: 26
country comparison to the world: 90
by type: cargo 14, chemical tanker 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 8, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 17 (Latvia 1, Lithuania 1, NZ 1, Nigeria 1, Norway 5, Sweden 8) (2008)
Avatiu
Military ::Cook Islands
no regular military forces; National Police Department (2009)
males age 16-49: 2,334
females age 16-49: 2,286 (2009 est.)
male: 148
female: 125 (2009 est.)
defense is the responsibility of New Zealand in consultation with the Cook Islands and at its request
Transnational Issues ::Cook Islands
none