Cook Islands Considering Changing Its Name to Reflect Polynesian Heritage
In the most recent try to replicate its Polynesian heritage, the Cook Islands is contemplating altering its identify.
A government-backed committee is exploring the problem, in line with Danny Mataroa, one of many committee’s members and a longtime advocate of a reputation change. The Cook Islands, named after Capt. James Cook, the British explorer who visited the South Pacific space within the mid-1770s, grew to become a self-governing territory in 1965 and has sought to rename itself a number of occasions since.
“We are sufficiently old now,” Mr. Mataroa mentioned in an interview Tuesday. “We are doing O.Okay. Now we will have a reputation we select.”
When Cook sailed upon the islands northeast of New Zealand, he discovered an Indigenous inhabitants made up of descendants from French Polynesia. Spanning 15 islands, the Cooks had been named a British protectorate in 1888. The space was standard amongst seafaring captains who roamed the ocean and harpooned whale, which had been prized for his or her meat and oil.
The nation includes 15 islands northeast of New Zealand within the South Pacific.CreditRobert Harding/Alamy
Now, the vast majority of the inhabitants lives on Rarotonga, the biggest island with a inhabitants of about 13,000. (The islands have 17,000 inhabitants over all.) The Cooks is in free affiliation with New Zealand, which has a big inhabitants of Cook Islanders residing there.
Inhabitants have sought to alter the Cooks identify earlier than to replicate Maori, an area Indigenous language; discussions return to the 1970s, Mr. Mataroa mentioned.
But it was in 1994 when a reputation change was put to a vote and rejected. Then, Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Henry accepted a referendum to acknowledge a Maori identify for Cook Islands, whereas retaining the unique identify in English. The majority of voters, although, voted towards the measure.
The financial system is supported by tourism, banking and the exports of native items. In 2013, worldwide finance regulators cracked down on funding trusts arrange on the Cook Islands, saying it had develop into an offshore haven for buyers in Palm Beach, New York and Hollywood who sought to keep away from paying taxes.
A committee with 19 members was convened in January by Pa Marie Ariki, a member of a bunch of tribal leaders that advises the federal government on issues associated to tradition and customized, Mr. Mataroa mentioned. So far, the committee has gathered 60 names from the general public and has the help of tribal leaders throughout the Cook Islands.
Mr. Mataroa mentioned the committee was contemplating names with these necessities: It shouldn’t be greater than 15 letters, have not more than 4 syllables and be simple to clarify in English. Mr. Mataroa mentioned the group hoped to slender down the checklist by April.
Names could be introduced to the federal government and may very well be voted upon in a referendum, Thomas Wynne, a authorities media adviser who’s on the advisory committee, mentioned Tuesday. If accepted by the general public and the federal government, an modification to the structure could be wanted to alter the identify.
Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown, a member of the Cook Islands Party, didn’t reply to a request for remark Tuesday. But Mr. Brown instructed Radio New Zealand in a March interview that he supported the identify change and wished to listen to extra feedback from Cook Islanders.
“I’m fairly completely happy to have a look at a conventional identify for our nation which displays the true Polynesian nature of our island nation,” he mentioned. He added that it appeared possible referendum could be wanted to make the change.
The Democratic Party chief, Tina Browne, didn’t reply to a request for touch upon Tuesday.
Mr. Mataroa mentioned he and his fellow committee members had been in search of public opinion, a problem on condition that the inhabitants is unfold throughout greater than a dozen islands and two million sq. miles. “It goes to be an extended, costly course of,” he mentioned.