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Friday 20th October
Cook Islands Information - Page 1
Geography
The Cook Islands, in Oceania, consist of fifteen islands spread over more than seven hundred and seventy thousand square miles in the South Pacific. They can be divided into two groups:

Manihiki, Nassau, Penrhyn, Pukapuka, Rakahanga and Suwarrow are in the north and Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Manuae, Mauke, Mitiaro, Palmerston, Rarotonga and Takutea are in the south.

Avarua on Rarotonga is the capital.

The northern islands consist of low coral atolls and a sandy key (Nassau). The southern islands are mostly volcanic (Manuae and Palmerston are small atolls and Takutea is a sandy key).

The tropical climate is moderated by trade winds.

Environment
The National Environment Service was founded to protect, conserve and manage the environment of the Cook Islands.

Suwarrow Atoll was the first National Park in the islands (1978). Takutea, a nesting area for birds, is a long established Wildlife Sanctuary.

Birds found in the Cook Islands include Brown Boobies, Masked Boobies, Red-footed Boobies, Sooty Terns, Frigatebirds and Tropicbirds.

Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles and Loggerhead Turtles have been recorded in the islands.

Architecture
Colonial architecture and mid-nineteenth century white coral churches can be seen in Rarotonga.

Rarotonga is also the location of "Marae Arai-Te-Tonga" an ancient sacred site with remains of Polynesian stone structures.

Population
The population of the Cook Islands was estimated at 11,124 in 2011.

Languages
English and Maori are spoken in the Cook Islands.

Religion
The majority of the people are Christians.

Food
Fish and seafood is in plentiful supply in the Cook Islands. Fish is eaten both raw and cooked. Coconut is used in cooking.

Taro, yams and breadfruit are grown. Tropical fruits are bananas, citrus fruits, guavas, mangoes, papayas and pineapples.

Traditional meals are cooked in an underground oven or "umu".

Drinks include coconut and fruit juices. Other drinks are coffee and beer.

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