How do you get to the Cook IslandsWhere do you get to the Cook Islands?
Earthquake struck in 1893, the starry sky vanished, a patch was placed on the Union Jack, and the other islands also showed the colours. In 1901 the Cook Islands became a New Zealand patronage. The Cook Islands gained their own independence on 24 January 1974 with their own flags, which contained a ring of 15 greenfield starlets.
The green signified the luxuriant island flora and the vigour of the population, the green signified their kindness, hopes, beliefs and devotion, and the ring of heavenly bodies symbolised the union of the 15 islands. Retrospectively changed the flagg. Officially introduced on 4 August 1979, the new look is more like New Zealand's banner.
Union Jack in the bluefield region symbolises a tranquil maritime country and reminds us of the islands' connection to the Commonwealth. They symbolise the belief in God and the equivalence of the 15 islands.
The Cook Islands are struggling to adjust to insidious climatic changes
Each year, the Cook Islands are visited by tens of millions of tourists, which is a true tropic heaven with unspoilt golden sand shores and blue-water. In spite of their lush nature, most would not be aware of the insidious threats posed by climatic changes to the islands' sensitive eco-systems. The Cook Islands consist of a group of 15 islands in the South Pacific and have a land mass of only 237 km2, although the territory around the islands is almost 2 millionkm.
There are two different geographical groups on the islands. South consists of high vulcanic islands, while the north consists of core atollas, which consist mainly of round sandboxes around a large lake Laguna. North islands are becoming more and more susceptible to increasing ocean depth. Nearly half of the Manihiki Island's inhabitants were resettled to Raratonga and then to New Zealand in 1997.
Situated just four meters above the surface, the islands are becoming more and more susceptible to storms and seas. History on the southernmost of the Cook Islands, Mangaia, is quite different. The center of Mangaia stands in thickly wooded hill country, a reef of corals imposed hundreds of years ago by seasonal weather.
Even indigenous fishers such as Ngametua Tangatakino are experiencing the impact of CCS. "I' ve seen the changes in the sea current around the isle. During 2010, he spends six month mapping tides around Mangaia and found that the mean low water level had increased significantly. Now it is uncommon that the coral that surrounds the islands is at low tide, which prevents the native women from looking for shrimps and slugs - a tradition of the locals' cuisine.
Native fishermen on Mangaia are agreed that things are about to change. Fishes do not come into their seasons, the tide changes and the marine life disappears. There are some who believe that the lack of certain types of seaweed is due to the increased water pollution in the Cook Islands, which has caused the algae in the Laguna to disappear, disturbing the human supply chains.
In 2010, a research study showed that the algae population had almost vanished from the Mangaia area. In early 2005 - the cooks had five cycles in one weeks and in 2010 the islands Aitutaki saw one of the most devastating cycles when 80 percent of the homes on the islands dropped their rooftops.
Rec Reciprocity Samuel leads the Cook Islands preparedness program. Working in close cooperation with the Mangaia locals, he was instrumental in launching a'tie-down' program across the Isle. De-population is a big problem, especially on the outlying islands, where 18-40 year olds often move to Raratonga or New Zealand.
"Combining depopulation with the effects of climatic changes, such as a decrease in precipitation, varying fisheries season and depleted fisheries resources, we find ourselves in an area in which living is more of a battle for the predominantly older populations that we have. Red Cross is part of the government's sustainability plans.
Frances Topa Fariu, General Director of the Cook Islands Red Cross, sees the topic of global warming as affecting all of the organisation's work.