Who is/isn’t a Cook Islander?

Saturday May 18, 2019 Written by Published in Local

How do we determine who is and who isn’t a Cook Islander?  What are the criteria? These are the questions being asked by year 9 and 10 social studies students at Papaaroa School.


“Surprisingly, this is not an easy question to answer,” says principal Harry Neale.

And as a social experiment he would like to bring this question before the public to see where the discussion leads.

 “Is there anyone out there game enough to have a shot at getting the ball rolling? In class, we are talking about identity and what it means to be a Cook Islander.”

He asked students to go home and ask their parents what they thought about it. They came back and told him that their parents could not answer who qualifies to be called a Cook Islander.

“Our class is looking forward to hearing the public’s take on this topic,” he told Cook Islands News.

In a story published last year, CINews Koutu Nui president Paul Allsworth  said Cook Islanders are people who belong to the part of the Polynesian race indigenous to the Cook Islands. It also includes any person descended from a Cook Islander, he added.

However, people holding permanent residence certificates, foreign workers and visitors to the country are respected and valued, Allsworth said. The aronga mana embrace the mutual, peaceful and harmonious relationship of all Cook Islanders, permanent residents, people on work permits and visitors, he added.

Readers with comments can email Neale at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    

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