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Cook Islands
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Capital City: Avarua

Internet Links

Government of the Cook Islands

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation


The Cook Islands


Cook Islands

Background:  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

Geography Cook Islands

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: 240 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 240 sq km

Area - comparative:  1.3 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  120 km

Maritime claims:  continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the
continental margin territorial sea: 12 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM

Climate:  tropical; moderated by trade winds

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: 17% permanent crops: 13% other: 70% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

Natural hazards:  typhoons (November to March)

Environment - current issues:  NA

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea
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 consist of
eight elevated, fertile, volcanic isles where most of the populace lives

People Cook Islands

Population:  20,811 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: NA% 15-64 years: NA% 65 years and over: NA%

Population growth rate:  NA% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  NA births/1,000 population

Death rate:  NA deaths/1,000 population

Sex ratio:  NA

Infant mortality rate:  NA deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:  total population: NA years male: NA years
female: NA years

Total fertility rate:  NA children born/woman

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:  Polynesian (full blood) 81.3%, Polynesian and European
7.7%, Polynesian and non-European 7.7%, European 2.4%, other 0.9%

Religions:  Christian (majority of populace are members of the Cook
Islands Christian Church)

Languages:  English (official), Maori

Literacy:  definition: NA total population: 95% male: NA% female: NA%

Government Cook Islands

Country name:   Cook Islands former: 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:  Avarua

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 NA); New Zealand High
Commissioner Kurt MEYER (since NA), representative of New Zealand note:
on 12 February 2002, Prime Minister Terepai MAOATE was ousted following
a vote of no-confidence; a four-party coalition is the third government
since 1999 elections:  monarch; the New Zealand high commissioner
is appointed by the New Zealand Government; following legislative
elections, the leader of the party that wins the most seats usually
becomes prime minister head of government:  Minister Sir Geoffrey HENRY
(since 12 February 2002) cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister;
collectively responsible to Parliament

Legislative branch:  unicameral Parliament (25 seats; members elected by
popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: last held NA June 1999
(next to be held by NA 2004) note: the House of Ariki (chiefs) advises
on traditional matters and maintains considerable influence, but has
no legislative powers election results: percent of vote by party - NA%;
seats by party - CIP 12, DAP 12, NAP 1

Judicial branch:  High Court

Political parties and leaders:  Cook Islands People's Party or CIP
[Geoffrey HENRY]; Democratic Alliance Party or DAP [Terepai MAOATE];
New Alliance Party or NAP [Norman GEORGE]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ACP, AsDB, ESCAP (associate),
FAO, ICAO, ICFTU, IFAD, IFRCS (associate), IOC, OPCW, Sparteca, SPC,

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

Economy Cook Islands

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 provides the economic base with
major exports made up of copra and citrus fruit. 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 - $105 million (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  NA%

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $5,000 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 17% industry: 7.8% services:
75.2% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  3.2% (2000 est.)

Labor force:  8,000 (1996)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 29%, industry 15%, services 56%
note: shortage of skilled labor (1995)

Unemployment rate:  13% (1996)

Budget:  revenues: $28 million expenditures: $27 million, including
capital expenditures of $3.3 million (FY00/01 est.)

Industries:  fruit processing, tourism, fishing

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  24 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  22.32 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  copra, citrus, pineapples, tomatoes, beans,
pawpaws, bananas, yams, taro, coffee; pigs, poultry

Exports:  $9.1 million (f.o.b., 2000)

Exports - commodities:  copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit,
coffee; fish; pearls and pearl shells; clothing

Exports - partners:  Australia 34%, Japan 27%, New Zealand 25%, US 8%

Imports:  $50.7 million (c.i.f., 2000)

Imports - commodities:  foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber, capital goods

Imports - partners:  NZ 61%, Fiji 19%, US 9%, Australia 6%, Japan 2%

Debt - external:  $141 million (1996 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $13.1 million (1995); note - New Zealand
continues to furnish the greater part

Currency:  New Zealand dollar (NZD)

Currency code:  NZD

Exchange rates:  New Zealand dollars per US dollar - 2.3535 (January
2002), 2.3776 (2001), 2.1863 (2000), 1.8886 (1999), 1.8632 (1998), 1.5083

Fiscal year:  1 April - 31 March

Communications Cook Islands

Telephones - main lines in use:  5,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  0 (1994)

Telephone system:  general assessment: NA 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: satellite earth station
- 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios:  14,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  2 (plus eight low-power repeaters) (1997)

Televisions:  4,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .ck

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  3 (2000)

Internet users:  NA

Transportation Cook Islands

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 320 km (1992) paved: NA unpaved: NA

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Avarua, Avatiu

Airports:  7 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 6 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 914 to
1,523 m: 3 (2001)

Military Cook Islands

Military - note:  defense is the responsibility of New Zealand, in
consultation with the Cook Islands and at its request

Transnational Issues Cook Islands

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002




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