The culture of Cook Islands has developed from its Polynesian heritage but since it had a great influence of the European culture as well. Over the years these isolated islands have developed their own culture, which is greatly influenced by the stories related to romance, piracy etc. The people over here speak several languages like English, M?ori of Cook Islands, which is also called “Rarotongan”. These two languages are the official languages here. There are also people who speak Pukapukan.
When you reach there, you don’t have to underestimate the people over here. They are equally in race with the world and have the access to internet and other sources of information. Unlike many other island habitants, the people living in Cook Islands have not stuck to their traditional way of living but have very well came out of the shell. A majority of the population of these islands lives in New Zealand. Their access to different means of transport makes them well aware of the world situation.
The people here are very gentle and this overall has been peaceful land except during the World War 1, when these islands turned into a battle field. These islands fought against Germany and in association with Europe and lost many lives. The people of these islands still have that in the back of their minds, having heard it from their elders. When the people here meet people from Germany, who come to visit here, they would often ask them about the Germany’s Dark Age. The people of Cook Islands know that it is past and at present Germany is one of the reputed democracies of the world and is well developed.
Another important feature of the island is the music. The music is an integral part of the people’s life here. Everyone is taught right from the childhood the art of special drum playing here. It involves a tattoo places out on a hallowed out stem of the tree. Songs of Kaparima are frequently heard in the churches and gatherings.
The night life is very active and there are a lot of night clubs, theaters and also the bars, which are open 24 hours. It is important that you pay respect to the people and their culture here. As majority of the people are Christians, almost everything is closed on Sundays.
The most important thing associated with the culture of these islands is the art, which also forms its integral part. You can find some of the finest art works here, especially the carvings. Another feature of art is the tattoo making, which has re-emerged as a fine art after being almost banned by the missionaries in the 18th century. There are some amazing art museums, so if you an art lover you will definitely find something interesting there.
Food and Drinks
There are a number of food delights which are native to this place. Though the most frequently available item is the pizza but you must search for the delicious local food, which is a rare these days. The reason behind the lower availability of the local cuisines is the openings of the hotels, which serve the international cuisines particularly. The top cuisines include:
- Ika mata, which is a raw fish and is served with coconut milk and delicately chopped vegetables.
- Umu food, which is often cooked in the conventional earth oven.
- Curried eke, which is actually octopus served in coconut curry.
- Rukau, which includes Taro leaves cooked with coconut cream.
Then there are hotels where you can find most of the common international cuisines. The drinks of Cook Islands are the delicious beers, which are made in two top class breweries here. Apart from these there are juices and alcoholic beverages of innumerable varieties available at some of the finest bars in the world.
Facts and Figures
Area: 240 km Sq.
Population: Above 20,000
Weather: Tropical (moderated by winds)
Nearest Airport: Rarotonga International Airport
Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD) and/or dollar