5 facts about the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands rarely make the news, but this week US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is visiting them to attend a meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum.  Ahead of that meeting, the Cook Islands announced that it had declared the world’s largest marine reserve.  Here’s a quick 101:

1. Where are they?

Jim Watson/Reuters
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (r.) participates in an arrival ceremony at Rarotonga International Airport in Rarotonga, Thursday, August 30.

Spin your globe to the South Pacific and find New Zealand. Then look about 1,800 miles northeast. There you have a string of 15 islands.

The capital island, Rarotonga, is about 1,870 miles northeast of Auckland, New Zealand, and 2,939 miles south of Hawaii.  It’s right between Fiji and Tahiti. ( see map)  

The total land area of the country is just 91.4 square miles, just slightly longer than Washington, D.C. But the Cook Islands' exclusive economic zone covers nearly 772,395 square miles – a space the size of India.

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