Australia-Oceania :: Cook Islands
(self-governing in free association with New Zealand)

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

People and Society ::Cook Islands

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 (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
    common law similar to New Zealand common law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration (New Zealand normally retains responsibility for external affairs); accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) represented by Sir Frederick GOODWIN (since 9 February 2001); New Zealand High Commissioner John CARTER (since 29 July 2011)
    head of government: Prime Minister Henry PUNA (since 30 November 2010)
    cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister; collectively responsible to Parliament
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: the monarchy is hereditary; the UK representative appointed by the monarch; the New Zealand high commissioner 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 consists 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 on 17 November 2010 (next to be held by 2014)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CIP 16, Demo 8
    highest court(s): 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 brought before 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
    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
    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
    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

Energy ::Cook Islands

Communications ::Cook Islands

    7,200 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 205
    7,800 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    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)
    1 privately owned TV station broadcasts from Rarotonga providing a mix of local news and overseas-sourced programs; a satellite program package is available; 6 radio stations broadcast with 1 reportedly reaching all of the islands (2009)
    3,562 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    6,000 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 205

Transportation ::Cook Islands

Military ::Cook Islands