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Cook Islands: a paradise of the South Seas

The Cook Islands are a semi-independent state in free association with New Zealand, made up of 15 small islands located between French Polynesia and the Samoa Islands, at a latitude south of the equator between 9 ° S and the 22 ° S.

The total surface area emerged is about 240 sq km (slightly more than the island of Elba). In addition, the islands are scattered over a sea surface whose area reaches 1,800,000 sq km. To make a comparison the total area of Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal. To give an idea of the vastness of the area, the distance between the most distant islands of the state, Pukapuka, in the northern group, and Mangaia in the southern group, is 1,470 km.

Rarotonga, the main island, is located approximately 3,000 km north-east of Auckland in New Zealand, 1,140 km south-west of Tahiti in French Polynesia. While it is 2,300 km east of the Fiji islands and 4,700 km south of the archipelago of the Hawaiian Islands. The islands can be divided into two areas, the Southern Cook Islands and the Northern Cook Islands. In the southern group are mostly volcanic islands, with fertile soils and tropical vegetation, they represent 90% of the total area of the Cook Islands.

VOLCANIC ISLANDS AND CORAL ATOLLS

In the southern group is the main island of Rarotonga (67 sq km). This island also has the highest peak in the state, Mount Te Manga (658 meters). Other islands belonging to the southern Cook group are Aitutaki (18 sq km), Atiu (27 sq km), Mangaia (52 sq km), Manuae (6 sq km), Mauke (18 sq km), Mituke (22 sq km), Mitiaro (22 sq km), Palmerston (2 sq km ) and Takutea (1 sq km). Of these only Manuae and Palmerston are atolls, while Takutea is a sandy islet, all the others are islands of volcanic origin.

The group of northern islands is formed almost exclusively by coral atolls, in fact Manihiki (5.4 sq km), Penrhyn (9.8 sq km), Pukapuka (5.1 sq km), Rakahanga (4.1 sq km) and Suwarrow (0.4 sq km) are atolls. While Nassau (1.2 sq km) ) is a sandy islet. The main sources of income for the archipelago are tourism, pearl cultivation, fishing, agriculture and financial services.

The climate of the Cook Islands.

  • Area: 240 sq km.
  • Population: 20,200. Polynesians 81.3% Mixed Polynesians and Europeans 7.7% Mixed Polynesians and non-Europeans 7.7%, Europeans 2.4%, others 0.9%. More than 50,000 people from the Cook Islands living in New Zealand.
  • State Capital: Avarua (Rarotonga island).
  • Languages: English and Rarotongan (Cook Islands Maori)
  • Religion: Christian: Cook Islands Christian Church (Presbyterian) 60%, Roman Catholic 15%, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc..
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar, NZD.
  • Time zone: -10 hours compared to London (UK) (-11 hours when London (UK) has daylight saving time). UTC -10 hours.

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