Geography and demographics
The Cook Islands is a country located in the south Pacific, halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. Made up of 15 islands and 240 km2 of land area, it has a population of approximately 21,000 people. Its capital city, Avarua, is the country’s most populous, located on the island of Raratonga. The official languages are English and Cook Islands Maori.
The Cook Islands is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system where the Chief Minister is the head of government. The country is in free association with New Zealand, meaning that the latter has some responsibility over the country’s defence and foreign affairs. Additionally, Cook Islands nationals are also New Zealand citizens.
Tourism is the primary industry of the Cook Islands, and the leading contributor to its economy. Other important industries include offshore banking, pearls, and the export of fruits and seafood. The New Zealand Dollar and the Cook Islands Dollar are used as currency.
From nightlife and shopping to nature and adventure, the Cook Islands has something to offer even the
most seasoned of travellers. The most popular activities for tourists are in the water, with spear fishing, snorkelling, whale watching, kayaking, diving and sailing, just to name a few. The Aitutaki lagoon is world-famous for its beauty, known for its sky blue waters. Raratonga is also an ideal families, where traditional culture and fine dining are intertwined with modern conveniences. The Cook Islands is particularly popular with families for this reason.