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Aitutaki, Cook Islands, facts and helpful info.


It's always nice to know a little about a place before you get there.

We have gathered some Cook Islands information and useful tidbits to help make your Aitutaki, Cook Islands vacation a little more enjoyable.


Aitutaki Photos
Aitutaki Activities
What, Where, When, on Aitutaki
Aitutaki facts
Aitutaki links
Meet your hosts

 Map and aerial view

        of Aitutaki.

Snorkeling Aitutaki
Scuba Diving Aitutaki
Sport fishing Aitutaki



Link Exchange

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Cook Islands local carrier.

Air Rarotonga


Cook Islands Intl carrier.

Air NewZealand


World Airport Codes

Cook islands Currency
New Zealand Dollar.(NZD)

currency converter

NZ$ rates
US .79c Aus .90c Euro .57c

Cook Islands Geographic

Rarotonga 21 14S, 159 46W
Aitutaki     18 50S, 159 46W


Intl dialing code


Cook Islands Language
English (official), Maori

240V 50 Hz


Link Exchange

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Visiting Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands for your vacation is one of the best vacation destination decisions you may ever make. The Aitutaki lagoon is as idyllic a place as you will ever find; many poets and writers have spun thousands of lines describing its wonders and beauty. Matriki Beach Huts was built on the foundation that all people should be able to enjoy this splendor without the high costs associated with such remote travel. Aitutaki lagoon offers snorkeling, diving,

fishing, whale watching, picnicking on beautiful beaches, sailing, kayaking, and much more. While snorkeling, you can view a myriad of colorful fish and see first-hand the giant clams of Aitutaki and the South Pacific; these clams are now protected in four separate reserves in the Aitutaki lagoon. Bone fishing is a thrill all its own - although we don't eat the fish they are truly a rush to stalk and catch. Fishing for pelagic species outside of the Aitutaki lagoon offers up Yellow Fin Tuna (Ahi), Dorado (dolphin fish), Wahoo, and array of jacks and snapper. Bring some of your catch back for the BBQ. At Matriki Beach Huts we practice fishing conservation - never kill what you can't eat in a few days, and never kill billfish.
The local Aitutaki scuba diving operators will safely show you some of the Cook Islands best diving; they are safe, reliable, and very knowledgeable. Matriki Beach Huts has hobies for hire, sail the Aitutaki lagoon and discover what all the fuss is about for yourself. Your hosts are always there to answer questions, take you on tours, sailing adventures, fishing trips, and more.


















Aitutaki Photos
Aitutaki Activities
What, Where, When, on Aitutaki
Aitutaki facts
Aitutaki links
Meet your hosts

 Map and aerial view

        of Aitutaki.

Snorkeling Aitutaki
Scuba Diving Aitutaki
Sport fishing Aitutaki


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Location of the Cook Islands


       At the very centre of the Polynesian triangle, the Cook Islands consist of 15 islands scattered over some 2 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered to the west by Tokelau, the Samoas and Nuie and to the east by Tahiti and the islands of French Polynesia. It lies in the Tropic of Capricorn, latitude from 9-22 degrees. The islands north to south, are Penhryn, Rakahanga, Manihiki, Pukapuka, Nassau, Suwarrow, Palmerston, Aitutaki, Manuae, Mitiaro, Takutea, Atiu, Mauke, Rarotonga and Mangaia. With a land area of just 240 square kilometres, the islands range from low coral atolls to the mountainous majesty of Rarotonga, the largest island of the group and home to the capital, Avarua. Aitutaki is known as the lagoon of the South Pacific and a Cook Islands vacation is not complete without a visit to Aitutaki. Legend has it that Aitutaki’s highest point, the 124-metre Maungapu, is the top of Rarotonga’s Raemaru Peak, stolen away by local warriors.

         It was during the Great Polynesian Migration (which began about 1500BC), that our ancestors first arrived in the South Pacific islands. Their giant double-hulled canoes - ‘Vaka’s’ - guided by the stars and the power of ancient Polynesian navigation, arrived here in the Cook Islands approximately 500AD. It is said that Chief Taoi arrived in Rarotonga during that time. Taoi presided over the creation of a grand road, built of coral, laid through the inland swamps. This all-weather road is still in existence, despite being almost 1000 years old. Now tar sealed, it lies inland and is called the Ara Metua. When the early explorers arrived on Rarotonga, they were staggered to find the Great Road of Toi and while there’s much in the way of legends to explain its presence, the original reason for its construction remains shrouded in mystery.

    The first Europeans were the Spanish explorers Alvaro de Mendana, who sighted Pukapuka in 1595 and Pedro Fernandez de Quiros who sighted Rakahanga in 1606.

     There was no further European contact until over 160 years later in 1773, when Captain James Cook, for whom the island group was eventually named, sighted Manuae atoll which he named Hervey Island. On a later voyage, he also discovered Palmerston, Takutea, Mangaia and Atiu in 1777.

     The ill fated Captain William Bligh sighted Aitutaki in 1789.  Shortly after Bligh, on April 28th 1789, mutineer Fletcher Christian sighted Rarotonga following the famous “Mutiny on the Bounty”. However Rarotonga’s official discovery is credited to Captain Phillip Goodenough in the Cumberland in 1814, whilst seeking sandalwood.

      Aitutaki was the first island in the Cook islands group to embrace Christianity when the Reverend John Williams of the London Missionary Society arrived in 1821. Traveling with Williams was a young missionary, Papeiha, from the Society Islands, who stayed on when Williams continued his travels and dedicated the rest of his life to his task. The CICC Church, construction of which started in 1828, is the oldest church in the Cook Islands and has a memorial to John Williams and Papeiha.

       The Cook Islands became a favorite stop for whalers in the 1850s, the British flag was raised in 1888 at which time Aitutaki and Rarotonga were included in the boundaries of New Zealand.

         Today, our international airport in Rarotonga handles daily connections by modern jet aircraft. Your local travel agent can assist you with reservations and planning your holiday, thus making the discovery of your Cook Islands vacation much easier for you than for our ancestors.



The Cook Islands History

An islands group of the southern Pacific Ocean southeast of Samoa. Probably first inhabited by Polynesians more than 1,500 years ago, the Cook Islands were sighted by Capt. James Cook in 1773. In 1773, Captain James Cook sighted Manuae atoll which he named Hervey Island. On a later voyage he discovered Palmerston, Takutea, Mangaia, and Atiu.

captain cook discoverer of the cook islands  Captain James Cook.

The Cook Islands are made up of 15 distinct islands, a Northern group and a Southern Group. Rarotonga is the capital of the Cook islands.
The southern group is nine "high" islands mainly of volcanic origin although some are virtually atolls. The majority of the Cook Islands population lives in the southern group. The northern group comprises six true atolls.The islands of the Cook group have a total land area of about 240 square kilometers, scattered over a vast 2 million square kilometer area of South Pacific Ocean.

A former British protectorate, the Cook Islands became a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand on August 4, 1965. This day is now celebrated as Constitution Day.

Population: 18,000 (2004) - Source: United Nations. More than three times as many native Cook Islanders live in New Zealand than live in the islands themselves. As New Zealand citizens, they are free to live in both Australia and New Zealand.

Rarotonga is the international entry point for the Cook Islands. From Rarotonga international airport Cook Islands carrier Air Rarotonga flies to most of the other islands in the group.

There are no snakes and no poisonous insects or animals on the Cook Islands.



Cook islands newspapers.  The Cook Islands Herald online edition.

Cook islands news online.  Cook islands news online 




Aitutaki and the Cook Islands

Islands group (pop., 2005 est.: 13,900), southern Pacific Ocean. Located roughly 3,000 km northeast of New Zealand, the 15 islands, scattered from north to south over some 1,450 km of ocean, are divided into a southern group of nine islands, including Rarotonga (the seat of government), and a northern group of six. All in the northern group are true atolls; most in the southern group have volcanic interiors. They were probably settled by Polynesians from Tonga and Samoa; there is evidence of a highly organized society c. AD 1100. Capt. James Cook explored many of them during the 1770s. Established as a British protectorate in 1888, they were annexed by New Zealand in 1901. Self-government in free association with New Zealand was achieved in 1965. Aitutaki is considered the vacation island of the Cook Islands.


Aitutaki, facts


  An Aitutaki Cook Island vacation is the stuff of which dreams are made. This magnificent and remote island has a triangular-shaped 'almost'-atoll rising up 4000 meters from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. It consists of three volcanic and 12 coral islets (motus)
Aitutaki was probably first settled around 800 AD and one of its great legendary Polynesian Outrigger canoe discoverers was Ru who named it Utataki Enua O Ru Ki Te Moana. Roughly translated, this means The Leading of a Cargo of People by Ru Over the Ocean. It can be inferred that Aitutaki was, therefore, the ultimate destination of one of the great

Polynesian ocean voyages. The first recorded discovery by Europeans was Captain Bligh on the "Bounty". He arrived on April 11 1789 and shortly afterwards the famous mutiny occurred. Bligh returned later on July 25 1792. He is credited with introducing the paw paw fruit to Aitutaki Island and this is now an important export product from the Cook Islands.
The first missionary to the Cook Islands, John Williams, landed on Aitutaki before any of the other Cook Islands and there is a large, airy coral block church in Arutanga, the main township, which bears testament to his success in converting the people to Christianity.
Life on Aitutaki moves at a wonderfully relaxed tempo which is why it is such a popular destination for visitors who fly in from Rarotonga for day trips as well as extended stays. Akaiami The Aitutaki lagoon can be approached in leisurely fashion in traditional outrigger canoes for quiet paddling just off the beach or in more sophisticated launches favored by foreign anglers who know its reputation for saltwater fly fishing for the fighting bonefish.
The motus which are mainly at the outer perimeter of the lagoon are wonderful landing places for the day cruises available for visitors. The favorite islets are Akaiami and One Foot Island.



 Useful Information for Visitors to the Cook islands and Aitutaki.


Public Holidays

The Cook Islands have 11 public holidays. On these days, bus service is either irregular or non existent. The Cook Islands shops are closed. Some little shops are open either in the morning and evening. Many restaurants are closed. If you are holidaying during this time then please make sure you stock up and you arrange transport to cover you over the holidays.
Our holidays are as follows:
New Years Day - 1 Jan
Day after New Years - 2 Jan
Good Friday
Easter Monday
ANZAC Day - 25 Apr
Queen's Birthday - 4 Jun
Rarotonga Gospel Day - 25 Jul
Constitution Day - 4 Aug
CI Gospel Day - 26 Oct
Christmas Day - 25 Dec
Boxing Day - 26 Dec
Being stuck without food and transport on any of these days can ruin your holidays. Please note that Sundays are similar to public holidays.


Respect of Traditions
The Cook Islands is a religious nation. One of the reasons why the country is safe is because most people go to church or believe in God. Part of this is that the people are very modest people. We do not appreciate nudity of any form. If you are sunbathing please do not sunbathe naked, keep your togs or bikinis on. Also, when driving around in town, or walking through the town shops please do not walk around in bikinis. And please do not wear shorts or a singlet if you attend a church service.


Cook Islands Foods to try
You should try our 'ika mata' - marinated raw fish in coconut cream and lemon juice. Trust me, the lemon juice cooks the fish so it's not as raw as its name suggests. It's really nice.
Other food you should try is 'poke' - banana or pawpaw pudding. This is basically banana or pawpaw mixed with arrowroot/cassava flour and served with coconut cream. It's rich but its an experience.
Try our root crops, or our staples - taro, arrowroot, kumara. A lot of visitors don't like taro, they say it tastes like soap, but we locals like it. Maybe the trick is that you don't eat it by itself, you cut a bit off and eat it with raw fish. Most visitors prefer kumara, the sweet potato, we have this in many different colours - purple, white, orange, yellow, but they are still the same thing.
Coconut juice - we call it 'nu'. It's a very pleasant drink so try it at least once. You can get them at the market for about $1-$4. The locals think $4 is expensive but that's the price you pay if you don't want to get your own off the tree.
Mayonnaise - It's a dressing in your part of the world, but we have a potato salad that is called that. The potato salad is mixed with beetroot, chow chow and Bestfood mayonnaise. Locals love it.
Mitiore - This is grated coconut marinated in the juice of small white crabs with sprinklings of spring onion and sea urchins.
Seafood - If you do visit Aitutaki and the outer Islands there is a lot of different kind of seafood you can try like 'remu' - sea grapes, and all kinds of sea urchins, crabs etc. Do not eat sea urchins straight out of the sea as you may be unfamiliar with what is edible.




currency converter
New Zealand Dollar. There are still some Cook Islands coins floating around of which the  10c, 20c and 50c resemble the New Zealand and Australian coins in terms of size and shape, so be careful not to take them back with you unless you want to keep them of course. Otherwise, there are still old Cook Islands $1, $2 and $5 coins in use. The New Zealand denominations are 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2 coins and $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 notes.


Power Supply
240V 50Hz


Aitutaki Cook Islands Seasons/Climate
Summer (Dec, Jan, Feb) high 29°C, low 22°C, humid
Winter (Jun, Jul, Aug) high 25°C, low 19°C

Cook Islands Maori, English. Note that everyone speaks English.


Visitor Permit
If you are in the country for less than 31 days, you do not need a Visa. You are issued with a visitor permit on arrival.



Aitutaki  Cook  Islands  Salutations


These terms can be used for speeches, conversations and any other forms of oral/verbal communications.


  Formal Informal
 Greetings - Hello Kia orana Kia orana
Welcome Turou
Aere mai
  Aere mai
Farewell – Good bye  Aere ra (to person going)
E noo ake ra (to person staying)
Aere atu ra (when both leaving)
Kia manuia
 Aere ra (to person going)
Noo ake ra (to person staying)
 Please Ine Ine
 Thank you Meitaki  Meitaki maata

Măori, Cook Islands original language

Good Morning - pőpongi
Good Night - pő manea, pő meitaki
Have a nice day - ră mănea
Good bye - ‘aere ra
Come here - ‘aere mai
Thank you - meitaki
Thank you very much - meitaki atupaka
You are beautiful - te mănea ‘iakoe

What is... your name? - ko‘ai tő‘ou ingoa?
              the time? - ‘ea‘a teora?

Where is... the bus stop? - tei‘ea te ngai tăp~u anga o te bus?
                the hospital? - tei‘ea te are maki?
                the museum? - tei‘ea te are vairanga apinga takere?
                the library? - tei‘ea te are vairanga puka tatau?
                the bank? - tei‘ea te pangika?
                the market? - tei‘ea te maakete?
                the church? - tei‘ea te are pure?
                where are going? - ka aere koe k~i‘ea

Counting 1-10
tai, rua, toru, ‘ă, rima, ono, itu, varu, iva, ta‘i nga‘uru

Useful words

Yes - ‘ăe
No - kăre
Stop - tăp~u
Flower - tiare
Food - kai (Rarotonga word for food), mănga (-over the first a) (Ngaputoru an Aitutaki word for food)
Book - puka
Water - vai
Girl - tamăi‘ne
Pretty girl - tama‘ine maneă
Woman/wife - vaine
Pretty woman - va‘ine manea
Boy - tamaiti
Man/husband - tăne

Happy - mataora
Dance - ‘ura
Let's dance - ka ‘ura tăua
Happy - mataora
Feast - umukai
Tomorrow – ăpaőpő
Moon - marama
Ocean - moana
Maunga - mountain European/foreigner - papa‘a
Plane - pa‘irere



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P.O. Box 32, Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Phone/Fax (+682) 31564



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