Cook Islands mulls new name

The islands want to end their association with Captain Cook

The islands want to end their association with Captain Cook

The process to change the Cook Islands' name is expected to take around two years, according to Mataroa, and it would likely have to go before the public in a referendum.

A new Cook Island Māori name could be on the cards for the beloved Cook Islands. A Cook Islands government committee has announced that it will rename the island chain, "adopting a standalone name in the Māori language", according to The Telegraph.

A small Pacific Island nation is considering ditching its Colonial name in favor of one that highlights their Polynesian roots.

The self-governing nation of 15 islands and home to around 17,000 people wants a name in the Cook Islands Maori language - and it has 64 possibilities so far, including Rangiaroa, or "Love from the Heavens", and Raroatua, meaning "We Stand Under God".

Around 60 names are now under consideration with a referendum expected on the issue to be confirmed.

"I'm quite happy to look at a traditional name for our country which more reflects the true Polynesian nature of our island nation", he told local radio. Now, as they develop an increasingly independent national identity, they want to change their name to one that reflects that.

This, however, is not the first time the island has attempted to change its name.

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"This is the first time we've actually gone this far", he says.

Cook Islands have a long history with name changes. The island chain has been inhabited by Indigenous Polynesians - now called Cook Island Māori - for approximately 1,500 years, but despite that fact, the archipelago is known to the world as the Cook Islands.

Then in 1606, the first European to step foot on the islands, Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernandes de Queiros, renamed the region "Gente Hermosa" or Beautiful People.

Captain Cook visited in 1773 and 1777 and renamed the islands "Hervey Islands".

Cook Islands is a popular South Pacific destination due to its stunning turquoise lagoons, spectacular reefs and tropical rainforests and lush mountains.

The Cook Islands were a British protectorate from 1888 until 1900, when they came under New Zealand's jurisdiction.

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