Cook Islands Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Cook Islands Population, cities


According to Countryaah website, the Cook Islands have around 20,000 residents, around half of whom live on the largest island, Rarotonga.

Ethnic composition

The residents of the Cook Islands are made up as follows: 81.3% Polynesians (Cook Islands Maori), 7.7% Polynesian Europeans, 7.7% Polynesian non-Europeans, 2.4% Europeans

Religious affiliation

The far greater number of residents are Protestants, around 70%; about 7% are Catholics and the remainder is distributed among other religions.

National languages

The national language on the Cook Islands is English, but Maori and Pukapuka are also common.

Capital, other cities

The capital of the Cook Islands is Avarua in the north of the largest island Rarotonga, with a population of around 11,000 people.

Cook Islands: map, geography

The Cook Islands are located in the southern Pacific, to the east of Tonga and Samoa, to the west of which is French Polynesia. Your distance from New Zealand is approximately 3,500 km in a northeasterly direction. The Cook Islands are administered by New Zealand, with which they are also associated. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Cook Islands.

Area and national borders

The Cook Islands cover a total land area of 240 km².

The islands, on the other hand, are spread over an area of water totaling around 2.3 million km². The Cook Islands can be divided into a southern and a northern group. The northern group includes:

  • Suwarrow With an area of 0.4 km², Suwarrow is the southernmost of the northern group and a pure atoll. This atoll has one of the best natural harbors in the entire Pacific. The first documented discovery of the island happened on September 17, 1814, when the crew of the Russian ship “Suvorov” landed here. The wife of the author of the novel “Treasure Island”, Robert Louis Stevenson, is said to have exclaimed when she saw the atoll: “This is the most romantic island in the world!” Stevenson, who was born in Edinburgh on November 13, 1850, died on December 3, 1894 near Apia, today’s Samoa.
  • Nassau Nassau has an area of 1.3 km².
  • Tongareva Tongareva has an area of 10 km² and is a flat atoll, which is hardly developed for tourism. It is an impressive example of a South Seas atoll. Located approximately 1,365 km north-northeast of Roratonga, it is the largest atoll in the Cook Islands. There are three entrances to the lagoon for ships (sailors), namely in the northeast and northwest. On August 8, 1788, Captain William Cropton Lever landed here with the “Lady Penrhyn” as the first European. Hence the other name of the island: “Penrhyn”.
  • Pukapaka Pukapaka has an area of 1.3 km². Pukapaka is a flat atoll and also hardly developed for tourism.
  • Manihiki Manihiki has an area of 5 km². Manihiki is a beautiful, shallow atoll just a few meters above the sea. It is hardly developed for tourism, although it is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Cook Islands. It was first sighted by Europeans on October 13, 1822, by Captain Patrickson from the US ship “Good Hope”. The airline Air Rarotonga flies to the island regularly.
  • Rakahanga Rakahanga has an area of around 4 km². Rakahanga is a rectangular atoll and is considered the sister island of Manihiki and is located around 40 south of it. It was discovered by Europeans on March 2nd, 1606, by the Spaniard Pedro Fernandez de Quiro (1555-1614) with the two ships “Capitana” and “Almiranta”.

The southern group includes:

  • Manuae Manuae has an area of around 6 km².
  • Palmerston Palmerston has an area of around 2 km².
  • TukuteaTukutea has an area of approx. 1.2 km².
  • Rarotonga Rarotonga is the largest island with an area of 67 km²; around 50% of the Cook Islands’ 20,000 residents live here.
  • Aitutaki Aitutaki is around 18 km², surrounded by a coral reef and a large lagoon. It consists of three islands of volcanic origin and twelve coral islands. The island was first set foot on April 11, 1789 by Captain Bligh with the “Bounty”.
  • Atiu Atiu has an area of 30 km² and rises up to 70 m above sea level, about 600 people live on the island. James Cook landed on the island on March 31, 1777. The island is famous for its insects and birds.
  • Mitiaro Mitiaro has an area of 22 km².
  • Mauke Mauke has an area of 18 km².
  • Mangaia Mangaia has an area of 52 km², making it the second largest and southernmost island in the Cook Islands. It is located about 180 km southeast of Rarotonga. The island was first set off by a European on March 29, 1777, namely by James Cook.

National borders

Due to their island location, the Cook Islands have no national border with any other country.


The Cook Islands have a total coastline of 120 km.

Tidal range in Avarua on Rarotonga

In Avarua on Rarotonda, the mean tidal range is around 2.5 m.


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic Ocean between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called “Nova Scotia” in German and whose capital is Halifax.

On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

The Cook Islands extend over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from around 8 ° S to around 23 ° S Δλ = from around 156 ° W to around 167 ° W

You can find detailed information on this subject under: Geographical longitude and latitude.

Legal time

On the Cook Islands, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there, a plus sign that it is later than CET:

Δt (CET) = – 11 h

More detailed explanations of the time can be found under: Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Avarua

Avarua on the island of Rarotonga is located at a southern latitude of around φ = 21 °, i.e. in the tropics. If the declination of the sun has a value of 21 °, the sun is vertically above the city. This is about 10 days before December 21st and then again 10 days after December 21st. (see position of the sun).


Please note that the sun moves from east to north to west almost all year round. For example, on December 21st, the sun will be in the south at noon, as its declination of 23.5 ° S will be more southerly than the latitude of 21 ° S.


The highest point in the country is the Te Manga on the island of Rarotonga with a height of 652 m.

rivers and lakes

Due to the size of the individual islands, there are neither rivers nor lakes to speak of on the Cook Islands.

Pacific Ocean

The Cook Islands border the Pacific Ocean with a total coastline of 120 km – more precisely, the Cook Islands are located in the South Pacific, the so-called South Sea. This region of the Pacific Ocean includes the Polynesian Islands as well as parts of Melanesia and Micronesia.

Cook Islands Population