Cook Islands

The Cook Islands[lower-alpha 1] 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 (93 sq mi). The Cook Islands' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers 1,960,027 square kilometres (756,771 sq mi) of ocean.[8]

Cook Islands
Kūki 'Āirani
Anthem: Te Atua Mou E
(English: "God is Truth")
Location of the Cook Islands
and largest city
21°12′S 159°46′W
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
GovernmentUnitary constitutional monarchy
Charles III
Sir Tom Marsters
Mark Brown
Tou Travel Ariki
Associated state of New Zealand
4 August 1965
 UN recognition of independence in foreign relations
236.7 km2 (91.4 sq mi) (unranked)
 2021 census
15,040[4] (223rd)
63/km2 (163.2/sq mi) (138th)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
US$384 million[5] (not ranked)
 Per capita
US$21,994 (not ranked)
CurrencyNew Zealand dollar (NZD)
Cook Islands dollar
Time zoneUTC-10 (CKT)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+682
ISO 3166 codeCK
  1. ^ As per the Te Reo Maori Act.

Since 2001, the Cook Islands has run its own foreign and defence policy.[9] In recent decades, the Cook Islands have adopted an increasingly assertive foreign policy, and a Cook Islander, Henry Puna, currently serves as Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum.[10] Most 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 (10,898 in 2021),[4] where there is an international airport. The census of 2021 put the total population at 15,040. There is also a larger population of Cook Islanders in New Zealand and Australia: in the 2018 New Zealand census, 80,532 people said they were Cook Islanders, or of Cook Islands descent.[11] The last Australian census recorded 28,000 Cook Islanders living in Australia, many with Australian citizenship.[12]

With over 168,000 visitors travelling to the islands in 2018,[13] tourism is the country's main industry, and the leading element of the economy, ahead of offshore banking, pearls, and marine and fruit exports.

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