17 Things You Didn’t Know About the Cook Islands

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Welcome to the enchanting realm of the Cook Islands, a tropical paradise nestled in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean. While this archipelago may be relatively small and often overlooked on the world map, it boasts a wealth of intriguing secrets and captivating wonders waiting to be discovered. In this article, we invite you on a journey of exploration as we unveil 17 fascinating things you probably didn’t know about the Cook Islands. 

From their unique political status and rich Polynesian culture to their breathtaking landscapes and conservation efforts, prepare to be enthralled by the hidden treasures of this Pacific gem. So, fasten your seatbelt and embark on an adventure to uncover the mysteries and marvels of the Cook Islands, a captivating destination that promises unforgettable Cook Island holidays.


The Cook Islands are located in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and American Samoa.

Political Status

The Cook Islands are a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand, which means they have their own government but maintain a close relationship with New Zealand in terms of defense and foreign affairs.


The Cook Islands have a relatively small population of around 17,500 people.


The official languages of the Cook Islands are English and Cook Islands Māori. The latter is closely related to the Māori language spoken in New Zealand.

Traditional Name

The traditional name for the Cook Islands is “Kūki ‘Āirani” in Cook Islands Māori, which means “Islands of the Cook.”


The Cook Islands consist of 15 major islands and numerous smaller islets spread over a vast ocean area.

Popular Islands

The most populous and popular islands in the Cook Islands include Rarotonga (where the capital, Avarua, is located), Aitutaki, and Mangaia.


Tourism plays a significant role in the Cook Islands’ economy. The islands are known for their stunning white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant marine life, making them a popular destination for snorkelling and scuba diving. Cook Island travel offers a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural beauty and explore the wonders of the underwater world.


The currency used in the Cook Islands is the New Zealand dollar. The Cook Islands also issue their own currency, known as the Cook Islands dollar, which is pegged to the New Zealand dollar.

Time Zone

The Cook Islands operate on Cook Islands Standard Time (CKT), which is 10 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-10:00).

Traditional Culture

The Cook Islands have a rich Polynesian culture with traditional customs, dance, music, and art. They are known for their intricate wood carvings and weaving.


The majority of Cook Islanders practice Christianity, with various denominations represented on the islands.

Volcanic Origin

The Cook Islands are of volcanic origin, and evidence of this can be seen in the rugged mountainous terrain and the presence of volcanic cones on some islands.

Conservation Efforts

The Cook Islands have made significant efforts to preserve their natural environment. The Marae Moana Act, passed in 2017, established the world’s largest marine park, protecting an area roughly the size of France.

Non-Military Nation

The Cook Islands have no regular military forces. Defence is the responsibility of New Zealand, under the terms of their free association agreement.

Cultural Festivals

The Cook Islands celebrate various cultural festivals throughout the year, including the Te Maeva Nui Festival, which commemorates the country’s independence and features traditional dance and music performances.

Cook Islands Maori Language Week

 The Cook Islands Maori Language Week is held annually to promote the use and preservation of the Cook Islands Maori language. It provides an opportunity for Cook Islanders to celebrate their language and culture.

Travelling to the Cook Islands

Whether you are seeking a romantic getaway, a family adventure, or a chance to reconnect with nature, the Cook Islands provide a haven that transcends expectations. So, consider adding these enchanting islands to your travel bucket list, and let the Cook Islands unveil their hidden treasures, inviting you to embark on an unforgettable journey of discovery.

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