5 facts about the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands rarely make the news, but, ahead of the 2012 Pacific Islands Forum this week the Cook Islands announced that it had declared the world’s largest marine reserve. Here’s a quick 101:

2. Who owns the Cook Islands?

Officially the Islands are an independent nation in “free association” with New Zealand, from which they gained independence on Aug, 4, 1965.    

The free association means the Cook Islands government, which is a parliamentary democracy, has executive powers and can make its own laws. But Cook Islanders carry New Zealand passports. Cook Islanders use both the New Zealand dollar and their own coins and notes, which are equal to the New Zealand dollar.  

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