Cook Islands

 

Named after Captain COOK, who sighted them in 1770, the islands became a British protectorate in 1888. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to New Zealand; in 1965, residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand. The emigration of skilled workers to New Zealand and government deficits are continuing problems.

Geography:
Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 21 14 S, 159 46 W
People:
Population: 10,777 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: NA

15-64 years: NA

65 years and over: NA

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Cook Islands

former: Harvey Islands

Dependency status: self-governing in free association with New Zealand; Cook Islands is fully responsible for internal affairs; New Zealand retains responsibility for external affairs and defense, in consultation with the Cook Islands
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 7,200 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 7,800 (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 11 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)

Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 10

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: no regular military forces; National Police Department (2009)
Military – note: defense is the responsibility of New Zealand, in consultation with the Cook Islands and at its request

Economy:

Like many other South Pacific island nations, the Cook Islands’ economic development is hindered by the isolation of the country from foreign markets, the limited size of domestic markets, lack of natural resources, periodic devastation from natural disasters, and inadequate infrastructure. Agriculture, employing about one-third of the working population, provides the economic base with major exports made up of copra and citrus fruit.

 

Black pearls are the Cook Islands’ leading export. Manufacturing activities are limited to fruit processing, clothing, and handicrafts. Trade deficits are offset by remittances from emigrants and by foreign aid, overwhelmingly from New Zealand. In the 1980s and 1990s, the country lived beyond its means, maintaining a bloated public service and accumulating a large foreign debt. Subsequent reforms, including the sale of state assets, the strengthening of economic management, the encouragement of tourism, and a debt restructuring agreement, have rekindled investment and growth.