Cook Islands consist of 15 small islands which is self-governing territory in association with New Zealand. The islands situated between American Samoa and French Polynesia. These major fifteen islands are divided two different groups such as Northern Cook Islands and Southern Cook Islands. Volcanic activity resulted in the formation of these islands. The first settlers of the islands arrived in 6th century CE to the islands and they were Polynesian people from Tahiti.
In 16th century, the Spanish ships came to the islands and called the islands San Bernado. Then in 1773 as well as 1777, Captain James Cook arrived the islands and called it Hervey Islands and the present name is came in to being during 1820s, when a naval chart of Russian published the names as Cook Islands honoring Cook. In 1888, the islands became the British protectorate. The Government of New Zealand annexed the country in 1901 and in the year 1965, the government of New Zealand decided to provide self-governing stature to its colony. Now, Cook Islands are independent, but defense area is controlled by New Zealand. Cook Islands are a democratic parliamentary associated state and Queen of New Zealand is the head of the state. Head of the government is the Chief Minister.
Government is responsible for the executive power and the Legislative power is executed by both government as well as the Parliament. Economy mainly depends on Agriculture and other sectors are banking, fishing, mining and tourism. The estimated population is 19,569 and 87.7% of the population is from the ethnic group Maori, 5.8% are part Maori and 6.5% of the people is from other groups. Languages spoken by the people in Cook Islands are Cook Islands Maori, English and Pukapukan. Several dialects of these languages are also spoken in the islands. The official languages of Cook Islands are Cook Islands Maori and English.
Tourism plays a major role in the economy of Cook Islands and the group of fifteen islands will provide the tourists a wide variety of tourist spots. Rarotonga is a popular tourist destination in which the international airport is situated. Tourists can find various hotels, resort and motels in Rarotonga along with sandy white beaches. Aitutaki is the capital of the islands and the place is beautiful and picturesque with beaches and central lagoon. One Foot Island in Aitutaki is a notable tourist spot.
Atiu is a beautiful island of the archipelago as it is a projected volcanic island with beautiful coral reefs. Some of the villages that are worth visiting in Atiu are Ngatiarua Village, Areora Village, Tengatangi Village, Teenui Village and Mapumai Village. Mangaia Island, second largest island of Cook Islands consists of fascination Oneroa village. In the islands, there are sightseeing spots such as Palace of Makea and Takamoa Mission House. In Arorangi village, you can two storied Tinomana Palace made of lime and coral. Other popular destinations of the Cook Islands are Takuvaine valley and Avatiu valley that consist of scenic spots filled with green vegetation. Papua Waterfall or Wigmore’s Waterfall is also a great tourist spot for the travelers.