Australia - Oceania :: Cook Islands
  • Introduction :: Cook Islands
  • Background:
    Named after Captain COOK, who sighted them in the 1770s, 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, government deficits, and limited natural resources are of continuing concern.
  • Geography :: Cook Islands
  • Location:
    Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand
    Geographic coordinates:
    21 14 S, 159 46 W
    Map references:
    Oceania
    Area:
    total: 236 sq km
    land: 236 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 215
    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:
    0 m lowest point: Pacific Ocean
    652 highest point: Te Manga
    Natural resources:
    coconuts (copra)
    Land use:
    agricultural land: 8.4% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 4.2% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 4.2% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
    forest: 64.6% (2011 est.)
    other: 27% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land:
    NA
    Population distribution:
    most of the population is found on the island of Rarotonga
    Natural hazards:
    tropical cyclones (November to March)
    Environment - current issues:
    limited land presents solid and liquid waste disposal problems; soil destruction and deforestation; environmental degradation due to indiscriminant use of pesticides; improper disposal of pollutants; overfishing and destructive fishing practices; over dredging of lagoons and coral rubble beds; unregulated building
    Environment - international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
    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
  • People and Society :: Cook Islands
  • Population:
    9,038 (July 2017 est.) (July 2018 est.)

    note: the Cook Islands' Ministry of Finance & Economic Management estimated the resident population to have been 11,700 in September 2016

    country comparison to the world: 224
    Nationality:
    noun: Cook Islander(s)
    adjective: Cook Islander
    Ethnic groups:
    Cook Island Maori (Polynesian) 81.3%, part Cook Island Maori 6.7%, other 11.9% (2011 est.)
    Languages:
    English (official) 86.4%, Cook Islands Maori (Rarotongan) (official) 76.2%, other 8.3% (2011 est.)

    note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census

    Religions:
    Protestant 62.8% (Cook Islands Christian Church 49.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 7.9%, Assemblies of God 3.7%, Apostolic Church 2.1%), Roman Catholic 17%, Mormon 4.4%, other 8%, none 5.6%, no response 2.2% (2011 est.)
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 20.68% (male 987 /female 882)
    15-24 years: 15.99% (male 774 /female 671)
    25-54 years: 38.06% (male 1,710 /female 1,730)
    55-64 years: 12.72% (male 627 /female 523)
    65 years and over: 12.55% (male 558 /female 576) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Median age:
    total: 37.2 years
    male: 36.7 years
    female: 37.6 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    Population growth rate:
    -2.72% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 233
    Birth rate:
    13.7 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Death rate:
    8.6 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    Population distribution:
    most of the population is found on the island of Rarotonga
    Urbanization:
    urban population: 75.1% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 0.37% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.12 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.14 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 1.17 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 12.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 15.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 9.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 76.2 years (2018 est.)
    male: 73.4 years (2018 est.)
    female: 79.2 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    Total fertility rate:
    2.16 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    Health expenditures:
    3.4% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    Physicians density:
    1.19 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 99.9% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 99.9% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 99.9% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 0.1% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 0.1% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 0.1% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 97.6% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 97.6% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 97.6% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 2.4% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 2.4% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 2.4% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    NA
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
    55.9% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    Education expenditures:
    4.7% of GDP (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
    total: 15 years (2015)
    male: 15 years (2015)
    female: 16 years (2015)
  • Government :: Cook Islands
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Cook Islands
    former: Hervey Islands
    etymology: named after Captain James COOK, the British explorer who visited the islands in 1773 and 1777
    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 (Parliament of the Cook Islands) in free association with New Zealand
    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:
    history: 4 August 1965 (Cook Islands Constitution Act 1964) (2017)
    amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Parliament membership in each of several readings and assent to by the chief of state’s representative; passage of amendments relating to the chief of state also requires two-thirds majority approval in a referendum; amended many times, last in 2004 (2017)
    International law organization participation:
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration (New Zealand normally retains responsibility for external affairs); accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Suffrage:
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Tom J. MARSTERS (since 9 August 2013); New Zealand High Commissioner Peter MARSHALL (since 10 January 2017)
    head of government: Prime Minister Henry PUNA (since 30 November 2010)
    cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; UK representative appointed by the monarch; New Zealand high commissioner appointed by the New Zealand Government; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually becomes prime minister
    Legislative branch:
    description: unicameral Parliament, formerly the Legislative Assembly (24 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms); note - the House of Ariki, a 24-member parliamentary body of traditional leaders appointed by the Queen's representative serves as a consultative body to the Parliament
    elections: last held on 14 June 2018 (next to be held by 2022)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Demo 11, CIP 10, One Cook Islands Movement 1, independent 2
    Judicial branch:
    highest courts: Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and 3 judges of the High Court); High Court (consists of the chief justice and at least 4 judges and organized into civil, criminal, and land divisions); note - appeals beyond the Cook Islands Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
    judge selection and term of office: High Court chief justice appointed by the Queen's Representative on the advice of the Executive Council tendered by the prime minister; other judges appointed by the Queen's Representative, on the advice of the Executive Council tendered by the chief justice, High Court chief justice, and the minister of justice; chief justice and judges appointed for 3-year renewable terms
    subordinate courts: justices of the peace
    Political parties and leaders:
    Cook Islands Party or CIP [Henry PUNA]
    Democratic Party or Demo [Tina BROWNE]
    One Cook Islands Movement [Teina BISHOP]
    International organization participation:
    ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IMO, IMSO, IOC, ITUC (NGOs), 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
    National symbol(s):
    a circle of 15, five-pointed, white stars on a blue field, Tiare maori (Gardenia taitensis) flower; national colors: green, white
    National anthem:
    name: "Te Atua Mou E" (To God Almighty)
    lyrics/music: Tepaeru Te RITO/Thomas DAVIS

    note: adopted 1982; as prime minister, Sir Thomas DAVIS composed the anthem; his wife, a tribal chief, wrote the lyrics

  • 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, employing more than one-quarter of the working population, provides the economic base with major exports 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 became overextended, 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. The government is targeting fisheries and seabed mining as sectors for future economic growth.
    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $299.9 million (2016 est.)
    $183.2 million (2005 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $299.9 million (2016 est.) (2016 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    0.1% (2005 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $16,700 (2016 est.)
    $9,100 (2005 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 5.1% (2010 est.)
    industry: 12.7% (2010 est.)
    services: 82.1% (2010 est.)
    Agriculture - products:
    copra, citrus, pineapples, tomatoes, beans, pawpaws, bananas, yams, taro, coffee; pigs, poultry
    Industries:
    fishing, fruit processing, tourism, clothing, handicrafts
    Industrial production growth rate:
    1% (2002)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    Labor force:
    6,820 (2001)
    country comparison to the world: 218
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 15% (1995)
    industry: 15% (1995)
    services: 56% (1995)
    Unemployment rate:
    13.1% (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    Population below poverty line:
    NA
    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget:
    revenues: 86.9 million (2010)
    expenditures: 77.9 million (2010)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    29% (of GDP) (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    3% (of GDP) (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    Fiscal year:
    1 April - 31 March
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    2.2% (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    Stock of narrow money:
    $38.99 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    Stock of broad money:
    $148.2 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $170.9 million (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    Current account balance:
    $26.67 million (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    Exports:
    $3.125 million (2011 est.)
    $5.163 million (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    Exports - commodities:
    fish; copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit, coffee; pearls and pearl shells; clothing
    Imports:
    $109.3 million (2011 est.)
    $90.62 million (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    Imports - commodities:
    foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber, capital goods
    Debt - external:
    $141 million (1996 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    Exchange rates:
    NZ dollars (NZD) per US dollar -
    1.416 (2017 est.)
    1.4341 (2016 est.)
    1.4341 (2015 est.)
    1.441 (2014 est.)
    1.4279 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Cook Islands
  • Electricity - production:
    32 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Electricity - consumption:
    29.76 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Electricity - exports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    Electricity - imports:
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    10,000 kW (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    80% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    30% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    Crude oil - production:
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Crude oil - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    Crude oil - imports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    0 bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    530 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    528 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    Natural gas - production:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    Natural gas - consumption:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    Natural gas - exports:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    Natural gas - imports:
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    200,000 Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
  • Communications :: Cook Islands
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 7,800 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 75 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 11,000 (July 2016 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 105 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    Telephone system:
    general assessment: Telecom Cook Islands offers international direct dialing, Internet, email, and fax (2017)
    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 (2017)
    international: country code - 682; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2017)
    Broadcast media:
    1 privately owned TV station broadcasts from Rarotonga providing a mix of local news and overseas-sourced programs (2016)
    Internet country code:
    .ck
    Internet users:
    total: 5,160 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 54% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
  • Transportation :: Cook Islands
  • National air transport system:
    number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1 (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
    E5 (2016)
    Airports:
    11 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 1 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 10 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)
    under 914 m: 1 (2013)
    Roadways:
    total: 320 km (2003)
    paved: 33 km (2003)
    unpaved: 287 km (2003)
    country comparison to the world: 205
    Merchant marine:
    total: 218 (2017)
    by type: bulk carrier 27, container ship 5, general cargo 102, oil tanker 17, other 67 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Avatiu
  • Military and Security :: Cook Islands
  • Military branches:
    no regular military forces; National Police Department
    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