Cook Islands (formation of an atoll)

Many thanks to Gill, who sent this postcard to Geography Cat from her holiday to the largest of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga.

The Cook Islands announced their intention to change their name to something which is more in keeping with their ‘true Polynesian nature’, as reported by the worldwide press.

Geography Cat is surprised that the name hasn’t been changed already. But there’s always something pressing to do, so it’s probably been on the back burner for a while. Names are important though. Products in the marketplace have their names changed to suit different markets and different times. But the name of a nation is also the name of a people, and so it is all the more crucial.

The Cook Islands are located in the South Pacific
: By TUBS – WikiCommons

The Cook Islands are a group of 15 volcanic islands and atolls in the South Pacific. They have been inhabited since the sixth century, but only named as the Cook Islands in the early 19th century.

An atoll is a coral reef in a ring shape around the eroded crater top of an extinct volcano.

Manihiki Atoll
(Credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

Watch this clip to learn more about the formation of atolls:

Geography Cat hopes the Cook Islanders decide on a more appropriate name for themselves soon and looks forward to the celebrations. Sadly he will have to celebrate from a great distance as Geography Cat doesn’t travel well.

2 Replies to “Cook Islands (formation of an atoll)”

  1. What a fascinating process!

    I hadn’t heard of the pending name change for the Cook Islands. Can’t wait to hear what the new name will be.

  2. Countries in the Pacific are awakening and addressing their historical past. I believe the nation is focussing on its customary rights, spiritual tradition, unique languages and story telling (myths and legends) which needs to be preserved. With so many islands within a huge expanse of the Pacific ocean, the world perception of these places is unfortunately one of ignorance and ideas of a ‘one identity fits all’ attitude. The nation of the Cook Islands want their unique identity to be fully recognised as well as being a member of The Commonwealth and the Polynesian island community. It is looking to ‘shake off’ the labels of French Polynesia and Captain Cook, the British explorer. The current name alludes to being ‘conquered’ by greater tribal nations.

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