The Cook Islands
The Cook Islands - Leading the World in Asset Protection for over 30 years.
Situated in the South Pacific Ocean, the Cook Islands lie due south of Hawaii. Reflecting its namesake, Captain James Cook, the country encompasses 15 islands across 1 million square miles of ocean. The island of Rarotonga, forming the capital, houses over 60% of the population. English remains the everyday language.
Originating as a British colony and later part of New Zealand, the Cook Islands attained limited self-governance in 1957 and entered a “self-governing in free association” status with New Zealand in 1965. Currently, it stands as a fully sovereign state with its own parliament, universal suffrage, and quadrennial general elections. All Cook Islanders possess dual New Zealand and Cook Islands nationality, maintaining a close relationship with New Zealand.
Highly esteemed, the Cook Islands’ judicial system operates hierarchically, featuring the High Court, Court of Appeal, and a final Privy Council appeal. Senior judges from New Zealand’s Court of Appeal serve as judges.
The Cook Islands established an offshore centre in 1981, targeting Australasian markets and driven by merchant banking. Pioneering asset protection laws in 1989, the Cook Islands became the forerunner in asset protection trusts, now central to its financial centre.
Aligned with Hawaii’s time zone, the Cook Islands hold an advantageous position for business with US-based clients. While geographically remote, the Cook Islands maintain robust global connections through modern communication systems, including high-speed internet.
A thriving offshore industry significantly bolsters government revenue for the Cook Islands. Other key contributors to the economy are tourism and cultured pearl farming.