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Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Political System

Cook Islands: Political System

According to Digopaul.com, the official name of the country is:

Cook Islands, Cook Islands/Cook Islands

The head of state of the Cook Islands is the King or Queen of Great Britain. The archipelago has its own parliament with 25 members and its own executive branch (ministers), but is associated with New Zealand. This means that the Cook Islands are self-governing to a high degree, but do not have full (under international law) sovereignty. New Zealand is also responsible and responsible for the military defense of the islands.

National anthem

The national anthem of a country is usually a piece of music underlaid with a text that is intended to express the state or national feeling of a country. It is usually played on particularly festive occasions, such as state visits, special holidays or to honor politicians, business leaders, etc. The introduction of the national anthems goes back above all to the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. "Te Atua Mou E ", as the national anthem of the Cook Islands reads in Maori, was declared the official national anthem in 1982 and replaced the national anthem of New Zealand that had been in effect until then.

Based on flag descriptions by Countryaah.com, the music was composed by the then Prime Minister Sir Thomas Davis (born June 11, 1917), the words, however, come from his second wife Te Rito (1923-1990).

Cook Islands flag and coat of arms

Maori

Te Atua mou e

Ko koe rai te pu

O te pa enua e

Akarongo mai

I to matou nei reo

Te kapiki atu nei

Paruru mai

Ia matou nei

Omai te korona mou

Kia ngateitei

Kia vai rai te aroa

O te pa enua e

The English translation

Almighty God,

ruler of the islands and the sea,

answer our call.

Protect us

and crown us with freedom.

May peace and love have

supreme authority

in the whole land.

 

Cook Islands: animals

Mammals

The only native mammals are bats. All other mammals such as cats, dogs, pigs and various rat species such as the Pacific rat, the migratory rat and the house rat were introduced by humans. There are no wild animals.

Reptiles

Marine turtles can be seen on some of the outer islands. There are no snakes in the Cook Islands .

Poisonous animals There are no poisonous snakes, insects, or other poisonous animals in the Cook Islands. In the sea, however, it looks very different. You will encounter different types of cnidarians such as corals, sea anemones and jellyfish, which cause skin irritation when touched, ranging from a slight burning sensation to the affected areas of the skin to severe allergic reactions.

The cone snails are much more dangerous, especially those of the conus species. They shoot down tiny poison arrows that can penetrate the skin of humans. The consequences of this are swelling, severe local pain, vomiting, symptoms of paralysis and, in the worst case, even heart failure. You can recognize the cone snails by their net-like patterned shell.

Other sea creatures are sea urchins, including the poisonous leather sea urchin, and starfish. There are also sea snakes, but they are peaceful if they don't feel threatened. Otherwise, they can defend themselves with a painful bite. Poisonous fish are stone, devil, scorpion and lion fish. They are among the most poisonous fish species on earth. Stone fish and scorpion fish can camouflage themselves very well and are therefore difficult to see. Both have a number of poisonous stings, and those of the stone fish can sometimes be life-threatening. In addition, a number of extremely venomous sea snakes live in the sea around the islands

Bugs

Mosquitoes can be encountered in the swampy regions of Raratonga. However, these are rather rare and do not transmit malaria. However, the Aedes mosquito is widespread and it is essential to protect yourself from it, as it transmits dengue fever.

Birds

A total of about 100 bird species have been recorded in the Cook Islands. About 26 of them belong to the native bird species, the rest are migratory birds. Half of the native birds are tropical birds, gannets, frigate birds, and terns. The other 13 species are herons, ducks, railings, three species of pigeons, parrots, yachtsmen, two species of kingfisher, flycatchers, warblers and starlings.

Six of the native species are endemic (found only in the Cook Islands). These include the Atiu sailor, the Cook reed warbler, the Raratonga star, the Cook downy pigeon and the Raratonga flycatcher. The latter is called kakerori by the Polynesians. It is a songbird and is one of the rarest bird species in the world. You can find it in the cut valleys of the island's interior. As juveniles, they have pale orange plumage that turns bright orange with age. In old age the birds are gray at the top and whitish at the bottom. Since the Raratonga flycatcher is threatened by the cats and rats introduced to the islands, it is under strict nature protection.

The Cook pigeon belongs to the family of fruit pigeons and lives in the forest areas of Raratonga and Atiu. The red head, the yellow "belly band" and the red feet are striking. It is not yet threatened, but its population is in decline.

Cook Islands: plants

General overview

The most biodiverse flora of the Cook Islands can be found on Raratonga. The frangipani, bougainvillea, marigolds and gardenia grow there. The latter is an evergreen shrub that grows up to 150 cm high and belongs to the madder family. The dense white flowers and 10 cm long dark green leaves are striking.

The Frangipani belong to the dog venom family. They are characterized by their strongly scented white, yellow, red or pink flowers. As the drought increases, the small tree sheds its shiny, lanceolate leaves.

Coconut palms, fruit trees and pandanus trees grow on the coast of the southern islands. The German name of the pandanus tree is screw palm, which describes the arrangement of its sharply serrated leaves. It forms aerial roots on the lower part of the trunk. The fruits are spherical and consist of hundreds of individual fruits. With some species of the screw palm (there are 630 in total) you can eat the fleshy part of the fruit cluster.

The putat tree, which also grows on the coast, has an interesting history. In the past, people used to fish with the crushed seeds of the large, square fruits by placing the seeds in shallow water. In this way the fish were stunned and floated to the surface, where they then only had to be collected. Today this method is banned, but the tree has retained the nickname "fish poison tree". Another special feature of the tree are its flowers. They consist of a cluster of hundreds of fine, long, white-pink stamens and four rather inconspicuous white petals. However, they only open at night.

In the interior of the islands one can find a variety of ferns, tendrils and large hardwood trees. The African tulip tree, which is called patiti vai on the Cook Islands, is also widespread. The tree reaches a height of 10-15 m and has vermilion, cup-shaped flowers from which 20 cm long, upright brown seed pods develop.

Crops

The useful plants include various citrus fruits as well as pineapples, potatoes, avocados, papayas and cassava. Most of these plants grow on Raratonga. Manioc is also known as bread root. The plant, which originally comes from Brazil, belongs to the milkweed family, grows up to 3 m high, has a bushy habit and greenish-yellow flowers. The starchy, up to 8 cm thick and up to 90 cm long tubers are used. All parts of the plant contain a toxin that is destroyed by washing out and exposure to heat. This makes the cassava palatable.

Yams and taro are an integral part of the local diet. The latter is also known under the name taro. This bulbous plant belongs to the arum family and forms perennial, up to 2 m high bushes with upright growth. Its heart-shaped leaves are dark green with a fine white coating and have a diameter of up to 60 cm. The tuberous, thickened roots are mainly used, and are prepared like potatoes. Young taro leaves are also used as vegetables.

The frangipani is also one of the useful plants, as its strongly fragrant flowers are used to make perfumes. Rare flower oil is also extracted from them.

Medicinal plants

The kava plant is a robust, slightly succulent (water-storing) perennial shrub that is related to the spice pepper and can reach a height of over 2 m. The trunk is branched and has up to 16 heart-shaped leaves. Kawa has a well-developed rootstock from which the ceremonial drink kava is prepared. The roots are used fresh or dried and finely ground beforehand. Both the roots and the shoots contain kawa-lactones, which have a relaxing, antispasmodic and pain-relieving effect. Therefore, the plant is also used as a remedy.

The Indian mulberry, also known as Noni, is of great importance. In the Cook Islands, however, they are called Kura. It is the most important and oldest medicinal plant in the medical history of the oceanic peoples. Kura is an evergreen shrub belonging to the madder family, which can reach an average height of 4.5 to 6 m. But there are also smaller and larger shrubs. Its fruits also vary in size, but on average they are the size of a medium-sized potato. All parts of the plant are used, whereby a powder is made from the roots and the bark, which is used for fever, intestinal diseases and poisoning. In principle, this plant is a panacea, but it is particularly used as a pain reliever for rheumatic attacks,

Poisonous plants

In addition to the cassava, care should be taken with the frangipani, as it contains a toxic milky juice. Otherwise no other poisonous plants are known.

Introduced plants

The breadfruit tree imported from India is widespread. This is bulky and has large leaves up to half a meter long and fruit clusters weighing up to 5 kg. The elongated, round breadfruit of the tree has a green, prickly skin and grows 2 m high. In Europe it is cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

The evergreen flamboyant (flame tree) comes from Madagascar. It belongs to the carob family, is 10 to 15 m high, has double-pinnate leaves and bright red inflorescences, to which it owes its name. It forms brown, flat fruit pods up to 60 cm long.

The cassava is originally from Brazil.

 

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