In the Spotlight – 9: The Cook Islands

Post 382

Comprised of 15 small islands and named after Captain James Cook. The world’s second largest producer of black pearls. They drive on the left and don’t accept foreign driving licences, so you have to get a native one when you get there. Tipping is considered bad custom, you must not do it. Only three islands have ‘constant’ electricity, the rest run on generators for 12 hours a day. The life expectancy is 70. The entire population of one of the islands, Pukapuka, are descendants of a shipwreck in 1700. 17 men, two women and several children survived. So, if you are one of the 500 residents of Pukapuka today, and you go on a date with someone, you’re probably dating your cousin. Although crime does occur on the main island of Rarotonga, on the other 14 islands, you’re statistically more likely to be a victim of a falling coconut than crime. And on Palmerston Island, there’s a popular fishing location named Scratch My Arse Rock. Seriously. It was named by Brit William Marsters. What type of man was he? He had a Polynesian wife and two Polynesian mistresses. At the same time. That sort of man. Yes, where else could we be other than the gorgeous Cook Islands.

Home to 14,974 people, covering 93 square miles, located in the South Pacific Ocean, northwest of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and American Samoa. It is an independent nation in free association with New Zealand, and they gained independence in August 1965. Whilst they have their own parliamentary government and make their own laws, they have New Zealand passports. New Zealand defends them and protects their interests. How nice of them. The flag of The Cook Islands is mainly blue, which represents the ocean that surrounds the islands and the peaceful nature of the inhabitants. The fifteen stars represent the fifteen islands, and the Union Flag is symbolic of the nation’s historic ties to The United Kingdom and to the Commonwealth of Nations. Their motto? God is Truth.

Places of interest include Atiu Fibre Arts Studio and The Art Studio, beautiful works of native art and crafts created in a country where art is life. The beautiful Zion and Cook Island Christian Churches. The eclectic and colourful Punanga Nui and Beachcomber Pearl markets. The gorgeous vista and smell of the Maire Nui Botanical Gardens, home to many rare plants. The wild and exotic Muri and Aitutaki lagoons and the paradises of Titikaveka, Black Rock, One Foot Island and Moturakau. The subterranean magical worlds of the Te Rua Rere and Antakitaki caves. Honestly, there are countless points, views, heights, reserves and waterfalls. It is a country bursting at the seams with a menagerie of exciting things to discover. It really is a wonderful and pretty special place.

Whilst there are many, many great sights, I think there’s only one to pick as the best. One thing that stands out above the others. It’s not spectacular. It’s not a golden beach or a high mountain. It’s not a reserve or indeed anything conventional. It’s funny and highly unusual, something that symbolizes the residents. And it is a marvellous and very popular tourist attraction. I think its greatest wonder is Tai’s Weather Rock. I’ve put a photo of it up, I hope you can read it, please Google it if you can’t. Because words cannot explain that. Of everything in and on The Cook Islands, if you had to sum up the type of people they are, people of joy and hope, then that is it. It is absolutely brilliant.

The Cook Islands. Home of humour, arts and culture, and an itchy arse.

Toodle-pip :)(:

Photos: The Flag of The Cook Islands and Tai’s Weather Rock

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the archives page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

The Indelible Life of Me
New Post Every Sunday
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Hark Around the Words
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