Country - Cook Islands
Cook Islands Country Information
To the north east of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean there is a group of fifteen small islands which are together known as Cook Islands. The island country declares itself a self—governed country, although the head of the state is the Queen of New Zealand who is represented by in the land by an official proxy.
The total land area with all islands taken together is about 240 square kilometres. The grand total of the entire population dwelling in all its islets was found to be 17,459 as per the census in 2016. The official language is English spoken by a majority of the population, followed by the next widely spoken Maori, a dialect of the tribe with the same name.
About four times more than the permanent residents, a bigger chunk of population lives in New Zealand. Most of the internal governance is carried out by the indigenously elected Prime Minister. The foreign affairs and defence are administered by New Zealand and the policy decisions are taken in consultation with the local government.
The capital and the largest city Avarua is situated in the island of Rarotonga where the highest concentration of people is found forming 61% of the residents. The remaining population is thinly dispersed over fourteen other small islets, with one of them (Takutea) being absolutely forsaken. Rarotonga is also a place that has an international airport.
Interestingly, international tourists would sometimes outnumber the regular natives in the islands in a year. Tourism is the biggest source of revenue for the country surpassing its export income by pearls, marine products, fruits and offshore banking.
The greatest feeling you get as a foreign tourist the moment you step in the land of Cook Islands is that the country is not as abandoned as you were made to believe by the classical information you had read. Several places throw an open challenge and stand out as a challenging counterpart to Hawai in the western hemisphere. With no one to spoil the purity of natural surroundings, Cook islands appears to visitors as a pristine part of the globe. The less populated places invite the visitors make them feel that the entire locales are their personal estate since there is nobody to put restrictions on your individual freedom.
When you sail in a boat along with co-travellers in Aitutaki lagoon of pure dark blue waters with turquoise greenish edges at the shore, you would meet with a pleasant odd feeling that the entire lagoon is your personal property because no other boat is seen anywhere in the range your eyesight.
Another boat trip near the One-foot Island takes you into the vast openness of waterfront bordered with distant plantations of coconut trees. The orchestra in the boat keeps you supplemented with melodious tunes and high moods of ecstasy.
When you take a stroll on the grass of Te Rua Manga “The Needle”, you are greeted with fresh greenery found everywhere on the hill surfaces, uneven stretches of land, thick boscage on the trees. It keeps your heart cool bereft of any tensions.
Snorkelling in the Muri lagoon is immersing yourself completely in the interiors of pure water world where an occasional fish as big as sea-surfing board will watch you momentarily and leaves you immediately as if to respect your privacy, tracing its own path into the inner depths of water. You feel blessed with being alone and undisturbed in a blue aquatic world shut off from the outside artificial smiles of strangers. Your soul gets elated the same way your body gets lifted up gently by the water waves at relatively shallow depths.
The Black Rock beach is sparsely distributed in sugar-white sand with single rock heaps of irregular shapes asserting silently that the stone masses were never meddled by humans for centuries and the rock structures formed are absolutely natural.
The Arorangi Christian church bears an innocently simple bucolic outward appearance but once you get into the building you are beset with astonishingly clean interiors and sublime calmness which soothes your mind to a pleasant tranquility.
The ancient and modern canoe circles were etched on the ground like orb-shaped stone borders and the Arai Te Tonga looks like a deliberately developed garden with well selected saplings.
At Highland Paradise, you can observe baskets being woven manually with fresh green fronds of coconut and palm leaves. Verdancy follows you unfailingly wherever you go. The surroundings argue with you silently that freshness is the permanent mainstay of the land.
The evening at Titikaveka beach lets you watch the sun sink into dark golden waters gradually. The local folk dances by garlanded women accompanied with gentle drum beats in dimly lit nights under the thatched roofed bistros leave you overstuffed with amusement and entertainment.
Every tourist after visiting the Cook Islands firmly asserts that the people who have not seen the country are missing the El Dorado of the east in the blue planet. Every location in the islands is far superior to the well-cherished imagination of any great artist.