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Australia-Oceania :: Cook Islands
(self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
page last updated on June 29, 2010
Flag of Cook Islands
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Cook Islands
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Map of Cook Islands
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Introduction ::Cook Islands
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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.
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Geography ::Cook Islands
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Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
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21 14 S, 159 46 W
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total: 236 sq km
country comparison to the world: 214
land: 236 sq km
water: 0 sq km
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1.3 times the size of Washington, DC
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0 km
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120 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
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Current Weather
tropical oceanic; moderated by trade winds; a dry season from April to November and a more humid season from December to March
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low coral atolls in north; volcanic, hilly islands in south
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Te Manga 652 m
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NEGL
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arable land: 16.67%
permanent crops: 8.33%
other: 75% (2005)
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NA
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typhoons (November to March)
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NA
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
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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
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People ::Cook Islands
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11,488 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 223
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0-14 years: 26% (male 1,588/female 1,403)
15-64 years: 64.4% (male 3,820/female 3,583)
65 years and over: 9.5% (male 536/female 558) (2010 est.)
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total: 31.2 years
male: 30.5 years
female: 31.9 years (2010 est.)
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-3.256% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 232
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15.67 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
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NA
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urban population: 74% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: -0.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.046 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
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total: 16.33 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 117
male: 19.88 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
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total population: 74.47 years
country comparison to the world: 93
male: 71.69 years
female: 77.38 years (2010 est.)
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2.43 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
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NA
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NA
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NA
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noun: Cook Islander(s)
adjective: Cook Islander
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Cook Island Maori (Polynesian) 87.7%, part Cook Island Maori 5.8%, other 6.5% (2001 census)
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Cook Islands Christian Church 55.9%, Roman Catholic 16.8%, Seventh-Day Adventists 7.9%, Church of Latter Day Saints 3.8%, other Protestant 5.8%, other 4.2%, unspecified 2.6%, none 3% (2001 census)
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English (official), Maori
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definition: NA
total population: 95%
male: NA
female: NA
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total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2005)
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0.2% of GDP (2001)
country comparison to the world: 182
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2001 census counted a resident population of 15,017
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Government ::Cook Islands
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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Cook Islands
former: Harvey Islands
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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
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self-governing parliamentary democracy
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name: Avarua
geographic coordinates: 21 12 S, 159 46 W
time difference: UTC-10 (5 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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none
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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)
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Constitution Day, first Monday in August (1965)
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4 August 1965
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based on New Zealand law and English common law
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18 years of age; universal (adult)
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chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) represented by Sir Frederick GOODWIN (since 9 February 2001); New Zealand High Commissioner Linda TE PUNI, representative of New Zealand
head of government: Prime Minister Jim MARURAI (since 14 December 2004); Deputy Prime Minister Robert WIGMORE (since 23 December 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister; collectively responsible to Parliament
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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
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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 26 September 2006 (next to be held by 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - Demo 51.9%, CIP 45.5%, independent 2.7%; seats by party - Demo 15, CIP 8, independent 1
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High Court
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Cook Islands Party or CIP [Henry PUNA]; Democratic Party or Demo [Dr. Terepai MAOATE]
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Reform Conference (lobby for political system changes)
other: various groups lobbying for political change
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ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IMSO, IOC, ITUC, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO
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none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
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none (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
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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
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Economy ::Cook Islands
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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 made up 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 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.
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$183.2 million (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 215
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$183.2 million (2005 est.)
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0.1% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
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$9,100 (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
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agriculture: 15.1%
industry: 9.6%
services: 75.3% (2004)
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6,820 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 217
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agriculture: 29%
industry: 15%
services: 56% (1995)
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13.1% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 139
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NA%
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
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revenues: $70.95 million
expenditures: $69.05 million (FY05/06)
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2.1% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
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copra, citrus, pineapples, tomatoes, beans, pawpaws, bananas, yams, taro, coffee; pigs, poultry
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fruit processing, tourism, fishing, clothing, handicrafts
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1% (2002)
country comparison to the world: 65
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31 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
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28.83 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
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1,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
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0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
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495 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
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$26.67 million (2005)
country comparison to the world: 55
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$5.222 million (2005)
country comparison to the world: 216
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copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit, coffee; fish; pearls and pearl shells; clothing
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$81.04 million (2005)
country comparison to the world: 211
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foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber, capital goods
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$141 million (1996 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
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NZ dollars (NZD) per US dollar - 1.6204 (2009), 1.4151 (2008), 1.3811 (2007), 1.5408 (2006), 1.4203 (2005)
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Communications ::Cook Islands
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6,700 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 210
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6,700 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 212
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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)
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AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (2004)
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1 (outer islands receive satellite broadcasts) (2004)
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.ck
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2,480 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 147
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5,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 203
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Transportation ::Cook Islands
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9 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 157
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total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 320 km
country comparison to the world: 202
paved: 33 km
unpaved: 287 km (2003)
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total: 26
country comparison to the world: 89
by type: cargo 14, chemical tanker 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 8, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 17 (Latvia 1, Lithuania 1, NZ 1, Nigeria 1, Norway 5, Sweden 8) (2008)
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Avatiu
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Military ::Cook Islands
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no regular military forces; National Police Department (2009)
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males age 16-49: 2,272
females age 16-49: 2,222 (2010 est.)
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male: 136
female: 115 (2010 est.)
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defense is the responsibility of New Zealand in consultation with the Cook Islands and at its request
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Transnational Issues ::Cook Islands
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none
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