Cook Islands

Where can I find facts and information about the Cook Islands, like Rarotonga?

Senior Primary

(Years 5-8)

Colour photo of a woman performing a Cook Islands dance. She is wearing an 'ei katu (flower head wreath) and  an 'ei kaki (neck garland).

Image: 00 4362 Rarotongo Cookinseln - Foöklore by W. Bulach on Wikimedia Commons.

Entry last updated: 26/09/23


The Cook Islands is a country in the Pacific Ocean made up of 15 different islands. Rarotonga is the largest of the 15 islands. The capital Avarua is found on the island of Rarotonga. The Cook Islands have a population of about 20,000 people. A large number of Cook Islanders live in New Zealand or in other countries around the world.

Facts and Pictures

Here are some excellent places to look for facts and information about the history, peoples and culture of the Cook Islands.


This is a trusted news website and a great place to find factual and current information.

  • Use the search box and enter your keyword 'Cook Islands' into the search box.

  • Select the result that says Cook Islands territory profile.

  • You will find some brief facts, as well as some key dates in the history of the Cook Islands.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg Cook islands. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Digital Pasifik

This site is part of the Pacific Virtual Museum pilot project funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia and put together by the National Library of New Zealand and the National Library of Australia.

  • Look down the page to Explore locations.

  • Choose Cook Islands.

  • You can use Filter by and Media Type to only look at images, objects, videos, or audio.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Cook Islands Travel

This is the official site of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation. It's aimed at people visiting the Cook Islands but has information about the different islands and history.

  • Go to Our Islands.

  • Choose an island to find out more about eg Mangaia.

  • From here you can look at photos, discover more, or take a virtual tour of the island.

  • For history choose Our History and People from the Our Islands menu.

  • Or you can search for 'legend' to find The Legend of Raemaru.

Daily Life

This section has information about how the Cook Island people live their lives. While some parts of their daily life are the same as in New Zealand, some areas will be different from how they live.

Britannica School

Britannica is one of the EPIC resources used by schools. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics.

  • Choose the Secondary level and put in your keyword 'Cook Islands'.

  • This will bring up the Cook Islands entry which covers the geography, plants and animals, people and culture, economy, and history of the Cook Islands.

  • Try the Images & Videos and Related tabs to find more information.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

This website was created for the Pacific community in Aotearoa. It has lots of cultural information on the people of the Cook Islands.

New Zealand and the Cook Islands

New Zealand and the Cook Islands have been connected for a long time. Both countries affect each other in many different ways. There is a large population of Cook Island people who call New Zealand home.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Although this is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa, you will also find useful information relating to the Cook Islands. If we look down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Go to Stories and find the letter C.

  • Select Cook Islanders.

  • This page has stories about Cook Islands culture and settlement in Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Remember to look at the External links and sources for other suggested resources.

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

This site will help with understanding New Zealand's relationship with the Cook Islands.

  • Select Countries and Regions.

  • Choose Australia and Pacific on the left-hand side of the page.

  • Go to Cook Islands.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Ministry for Pacific Peoples

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples works to promote success for Pacific Peoples. This website is a great resource to look at for information about Cook Islanders and New Zealand.

  • Enter the keyword 'Cook Islands' in the search box.

  • The article called Cook Island Language Week is a good place to start learning about the language (Te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani) and culture of the Cook Islands.


These books will give you more information about the Cook Islands, its people, and the language of the Cook Islands:

SCIS no: 1860776

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