Friday, July 1, 2011

The 15 Islands: Jewels of the Pacific

The Cook Islands - 15 Jewels of the Pacific

The Cook Islands have a total land area of 240 square kilometres or (92.7 sq mi), it's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers 1,800,000 square kilometres or (690,000 sq mi) of ocean.

The most populated of the 15 islands in the Cook Islands is Rarotonga, which is also the capital island of the Cook Islands.

All flights depart and arrive from New Zealand; Tahiti flight is Thursday; Los Angeles, USA; and the direct flight from Sydney, Australia.

From here Air Rarotonga transfers passengers to the outer islands of Aitutaki, Mangaia, Atiu, Mauke, and Mitiaro, which are in the southern group. Flights to the northern groups Pukapuka, Rakahanga, and Penrhyn is by charter only.

Mangaia Airport

Tourism is the country's number one industry, and the leading element of the economy, far ahead of offshore banking, pearls, marine and fruit exports.

Defence and foreign affairs are the responsibility of New Zealand, in consultation with the Cook Islands. In recent times, the Cook Islands have adopted an increasingly independent foreign policy. Although Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, they have the status of Cook Islands nationals, which is not given to all New Zealand citizens.

The Cook Islands are north-east of New Zealand, between Tahiti - French Polynesia and Fiji. 

The Cook Islands are divided into two distinct groups: the "Southern Groups", and the "Northern Groups."

These islands and two reefs are grouped as follows:

* Southern Cook Islands:

The first three islands Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro, are known as Nga-pu-Toru or ("Three Roots");
(1) Atiu (Enua Manu or Island of Birds)
(2) Mauke (Akatokamanava)
(3) Mitiaro (Nukuroa)
The other islands are:
(4) Aitutaki (Araura Enua)
(5) Mangaia (Auau Enua)
(6) Rarotonga (Tumutevarovaro)
(7) Palmerston (Pamati) is sometimes grouped with the Northern Group
(8) Manuae
(9) Takutea
+ Winslow Reef (submerged)

* Northern Cook Islands:

(10) Manihiki (Te Fuinga o Niva)
(11) Nassau (Te Nuku o Ngalewu )
(12) Penrhyn (Tongareva or Mangarongaro)
(13) Pukapuka (Te Ulu o te Watu)
(14) Rakahanga (Tapuahua)
(15) Suwarrow ((also called Suvorov)
+ Tema Reef (submerged)

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