General Information

The Cook Islands is a nation in the South Pacific, with political links to New Zealand. Its 15 islands are scattered over a vast area. The largest island, Rarotonga, is home to rugged mountains and Avarua, the national capital. To the north, Aitutaki Island has a vast lagoon encircled by coral reefs and small, sandy islets. The country is renowned for its many snorkeling and scuba-diving sites.

Population

The Cook Islands has a population of 14,974

Political Structure

The Cook Islands is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system in an associated state relationship with New Zealand. Executive power is exercised by the government, with the Chief Minister as head of government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of the Cook Islands. There is a pluriform multi-party system. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The head of state is the Queen of New Zealand, who is represented in the Cook Islands by the Queen’s Representative.

Infrastructure and Economy

The economy is strongly affected by geography. It is isolated from foreign markets, and has some inadequate infrastructure; it lacks major natural resources, has limited manufacturing and suffers moderately from natural disasters. Tourism provides the economic base which makes up approximately 67.5% of GDP. Additionally, the economy is supported by foreign aid, largely from New Zealand. The Peoples’ Republic of China has also contributed foreign aid which has resulted in, among other projects, the Police Headquarters building. The Cook Islands is expanding its agriculture, mining and fishing sectors, with varying success.

Languages

The languages of the Cook Islands include English, Cook Islands Māori, or “Rarotongan,” and Pukapukan.

Currency

Cook Island Dollar

Exchange Control

There are no foreign exchange controls in Cook Islands

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