45 Cook Islands Facts: What It's Like To Live On An Island | Kidadl


45 Cook Islands Facts: What It's Like To Live On An Island

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What is it like to live on an island? The Cook Islands offer a peek into what life would be like if you were unfortunate enough to be stranded on one of their islands. They have no airports or seaports and must rely heavily upon cargo ships for transport due to their lack of land.

It isn't easy to find food, water, or other important commodities on the islands. Some islands are good for farming and fishing, but most are not. These islands are so isolated that they must import nearly all their supplies. Many residents grow their food in gardens or raise animals such as chickens and pigs.

The climate of the islands is tropical and wet. It is very hot, humid, and sunny throughout the year. Due to these conditions, residents often have floods, volcanic eruptions, and strong winds. Despite the tough conditions, many of the residents are friendly Cook islanders willing to help others out.

Cook Islands Location

The Cook Islands are located in the southern Pacific Ocean, a few hundred miles away from New Zealand's North Island. It seem to be an out-of-the-way place, but there is a lot of history behind the island.

  • Captain James Cook first discovered the islands on his third voyage in 1773. He later named them after another British explorer called Cook.
  • Many people like to visit these islands because they can experience life before modern technology and electricity were invented.
  • Many tourists like to dive or fish in the nearby waters for marlin fish and tuna. People also like to sail around the islands and bask in their tropical beauty.
  • Before Europeans first set foot on the Cook Islands, they were a group of islands called the Islands of Ratakan. Captain Cook first visited them in 1773. He took control of many of them, except for Atiu.
  • The islands had little value until Europeans settled on other islands in the area. Many of them have become famous for something, such as Easter Island for its statues and Bougainvillea for its flowers.
  • In 1888 a trader named Richard Henry O'Connor settled on Rarotonga and started selling and trading copra nuts from canoes in Niuatoputapu Harbor.
They have no airports or seaports and must rely heavily upon cargo ships

Islands Of Cook Islands

There are 15 islands in the Cook Islands spread across 100,000 sq mi (258998 sq km) of the ocean. Each island is unique and offers something different to people who visit.

  • The main island of Rarotonga is home to most of the population and its main city, Avarua. There are also many resorts on this island and bungalows that line the beaches. Most tourists like to stay when they visit the Cook Islands.
  • The next largest island is called Mangaia, and it can be reached by boat from Rarotonga in only a few hours. It offers beautiful views of the ocean and rainforests that are great for hiking through and finding wildlife such as birds and lizards.
  • The third-largest island is called Atiu, and it has been a haven for many Polynesians for thousands of years. It is known as the 'Easter Island of the South Pacific,' and there are several interesting things to do here, such as hiking through the rainforest, swimming in a hot spring, and diving for sharks.
  • Another large island is called Aitutaki. This island is surrounded by rings of coral that have been formed by volcanic activity. It also has beautiful beaches, lush vegetation, and forests, and it was once used as a bombing range for the US Air Force during World War Two.
  • The final main island is called Nassau. This island is only a short boat ride away from Rarotonga, but it offers a completely different experience and has a lot of interesting things to do.
  • There is a main airport on the Cook Islands , and many unique restaurants and historical buildings are worth exploring while you are there.
  • The other islands include Mangaia, Mauke, Mitiaro, Pukapuka, Rakahanga and Suwarrow. These islands are small and deserted, except Pukapuka and Suwarrow, which have a large population of sea turtles that migrate across them every year.

Wildlife Of Cook Islands

Some of the animals and plants found on the Cook Islands include sea turtles, birds, insects, fish, and pigs. Many islands have been used as a haven for these creatures due to their isolation from other islands.

  • Smaller lizards also inhabit many of these islands and are often seen running around or hiding in trees or bushes. Sea turtles also live on some islands, usually near the beaches. They lay their eggs in nests created in the sand with their flippers.
  • The only native land-based mammal to live here is the small flightless island fruit bat less than a pound in weight.
  • Some islands do not have enough animals for these bats to feed on, so they only live on Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Nassau.
  • Some of the other plants that can be found on these islands include coconut palms, tropical flowers such as orchids, and fruits such as mangoes and papayas. Many of these fruits are seasonal and cannot be found during certain times of the year.
  • Some of the animals found on these islands include dolphins, sea turtles, and parrots. On Nassau, Stingrays are common to see in the water.
  • Other animals that can be found here include crabs and fish and large insects by the name of giant water bugs.
  • There is an Immigration Department in Rarotonga which oversees immigration for the Cook Islands. It also deals with visa issues for visiting travelers.
  • The Cook Islands Police Force is operated by the Ministry of Justice and comprises two separate branches.
  • The branch that deals with law and order is called the National Police. This branch has several subdivisions, including the Special Branch, which oversees intelligence gathering, lethal activities, and law enforcement on international waters.

Climate And Currencies Of Cook Islands

The Cook Islands have a tropical climate that is warm and sunny throughout the year.

  • The temperature varies from 76-77 F (24.4-25 C), with the highest temperature in March and the lowest temperature in August. Due to these conditions, tourists often wear light clothing such as shorts and tank tops.
  • Most residents wear this type of clothing since they rarely experience cold weather. It is so hot here that it seldom rains during the summer season, between December and February.
  • The currency used on these islands is the Cook Islands dollar. One US Dollar is worth about 76 cents on average, and the only coins available are 5, 10, and 25 cents. The only currency that is accepted outside of Rarotonga is the US Dollar.

Did you know?

‘Cook Islands’ was named after a British explorer who discovered the island. In the mid-1700s, Captain James Cook visited the island and the South-Pacific area, and since then, the island has been called the Cook Islands.

  • The Cook Islands are made up of 15 different islands covering about 92.66 sq mi (240 sq km) in the South Pacific Ocean near New Zealand.
  • The islands are full of blue lagoons, swaying palms, sandstone churches, mountainous landscapes with numerous sea-facing cafes, and tremendously famous bars.
  • There are exotic beaches with clear water surroundings with underwater exploration options like swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
  • Cooks Islands are located in the South Pacific Ocean and are approximately 4750 km (2951 mi) away from Australia’s east coast. It takes almost seven hours from Australia to reach one of the 15 Cooks Islands.
  • The Cook Islands is predicted to be first settled around 1000 AD. It is being said that the Polynesian people that migrated from Tahiti settled on this island. This makes the island approximately 1000 years old from the human settlement on its banks.
  • The official language of the Cook Islands is Cook Islands Māori, which is very closely related to New Zealand Māori but has its differences.
  • The language is also known as Māori Kuki Airani or Rarotongan by the natives. English is also spoken vastly on the island, its official language before 2003.
  • The Cook Islands is a self-governing country in free association with New Zealand. It is a part of the Realm of New Zealand. It is ruled by the Queen of New Zealand, the Head of the State.
  • The majority of the Cook Islanders are Christian and belong to the Christian (Congregational) Church.
  • There are also Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Seventh-day Adventism, and Baha’i, which are in smaller numbers on the island.
  • The Cook Island Maori is a sovereign country part of the Commonwealth. The Cook Islands became a self-governing dependency in free association with New Zealand in 1965.
  • Self-government was attained under the 1967 Constitution. Cook island nationals have no right to vote in New Zealand elections.
  • Harvey islands are a near-exact copy of the Cook Islands, except that they have no Cook Islander population, and the Cook Islands have a much higher population, so slightly more food. Northern Islands Council consists of Northern Group, Cook Islands, and New Zealand.
  • Harvey islands are an independent sovereign island country in the South Pacific Ocean with 1,000. The capital is Raivavae.
  • The Southern Cook Islands are exactly like the northern Cook Islands, except they have more beaches and more land.
  • New Zealand is a world-leading producer and exporter of dairy products. Outer islands councils are an alliance of the northern group, southern group, and new Zealand.
  • The southern group consists of the Cook Islands, Fiji, and New Zealand. Inhabited islands are part of the Cook Islands, New Zealand, and Fiji.
  • Two distinct groups are the northern group and the southern group. Foot Island is an uninhabited island in the southern area. Island councils are the alliances of the northern group and the southern.
  • The New Zealand dollar is used in the Cook Islands, Fiji, and New Zealand. Foreign affairs are shared between Cook Islands, Fiji, and New Zealand.
  • Local cuisine is the main diet of the Cook Island Maori. An art studio gallery is a place for artists to show off their paintings and sculptures.
  • This is one of the few places where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between New Zealand and Cook Island Maori. Zealand citizens live in the Cook Islands, New Zealand, and Fiji. Captain Cook is a famous explorer that visited New Zealand, and his ship was called the ship of discovery.
  • New Zealand has a near-exact copy of Cook Islands except that it has no Cook Islander population, and the Cook Islands have a much higher population, so slightly more food.
  • The northern group is an alliance of Hervey, Northern islands, and New Zealand. A British territory is a place where the Queen of England rules.
  • Cook Islanders are usually known as the Cook Islands Maori. Rarotonga is also a common name for the group.
  • It is to be noted that Cook Islanders are true Polynesians and they connect back to the Pacific seafarers. The studies have found out that Cook Islands nationals are 81% Polynesian for that matter.
  • The island life here is a mix of both service and product sectors but it is safe to say that the service sector dominates this economy with tourism being the largest contributor.

Visitors from Australia, New Zealand, the US, Europe, and Canada travel to both southern islands and the northern island. It is to be noted that Mangaia, the 18-million-year old island of the Pacific is present as a part of the Southern islands here and is one of the popular attractions you may not want to miss out on.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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