Photo: Cook Islands Tourism

Young Cook Islanders bring a unique inisight into their homeland and their lives. The first extracts are from the winning entries in an essay writing competition for schools run by the Peace Council. Although that competition and the other writings date back a good few years, I hope you'll agree with me that what these young islanders write is still worth reading today
All first published by Cook Islands News


Cook Islands is a peaceful island because the people are friendly and kind. We love to welcome tourists to our island. Our island is a kind and friendly island. Our island has no war and we live in peace and harmony. We are not in war because we live in a little island
Ngatokorima Paia, Avarua School. Rarotonga


by Vainemaru Matapo from Mangaia

In the Cook Islands the people are Polynesians. They are friendly, caring, respectful, loving and very kind people. They stay as one and live very close to relatives because families mainly own the lands. The people show love to one another. They are very helpful and cooperate with each other. The people mainly enjoy working in groups for the betterment of society instead of individuals. There are not many people on each island especially the outer islands and everybody knows each other. No matter if a tourist is a different race they still show love and make that person welcome. 
The environment is important to the island people. The people always keep the environment clean. The environments on each island are super clean and beautiful. The air is fresh and free from polluted gas of industries. The islands are blessed with natural beauty, white sandy beaches, hidden caves and black pearls to name a few. On each island we have different species of birds unique to that island's environment. When you want a perfect, quiet place where only island birds are heard, the Cook Islands is the perfect place
Christianity is the religion in the Cook Islands which is important to the Cook Islands people. The religion is what shapes the people because it teaches about forgiveness and repentance. Sunday is a special day in the Cook Islands where people attend church

Our customs are precious to us Polynesians. It portrays our identity. This is what makes us a unique people. Welcoming people to the Cook Islands by presenting flower eis is a sign of acceptance and love. Time is more flexible in the Cook Islands.

So the best destination spot is the Cook Islands. No trouble, no stress, no feeling of lost hope, just the feeling of happiness and relaxation


by ​Jacqueline Carisa Hosea, Araura College, Rarotonga

The Cook Islands is an ideal place to live in this world of war and strife. Why? Because there is peace and love everywhere.
For most of my life, I have lived in the Cook Islands, and there has not been a day when my family and I have feared for our lives, suffered from hunger or been deprived of the necessities of life. Our people are of different religions, political parties and ethnic origins, but it does not create tension, which leads to violence. We respect each others differences and get on with each other in spite of them
Cook Islanders are fortunate because we never run out of food. Food is always abundant. Our islands are full of all kinds of fruits and vegetables and the sea abounds with a huge variety of seafood. Nearly everywhere you look there is a source of sustenance, such as a banana tree, a mango tree, guava tree, the amazing coconut tree, a chicken, pig or goat, even a fish leaping out of the sea with a silvery flash of scales.

Another thing about the Cook Islands is that we are, generally speaking, a clean country. Most of us take pride in keeping our little islands clean and tidy. However, there is much more that we can do to preserve the fauna and flora of our island paradise. Living in beautiful, clean surroundings help to promote a feeling of well-being and pride in our country. After all, as the saying goes 'cleanliness is next to Godliness' - and where God is, peace is.

Sometimes I overhear tourists saying to each other that, “this place is like Heaven on Earth”, and it always thrills me when I hear them saying things like that. I know that they are not just talking about the islands, but also about the people. Our people are naturally hospitable and friendly. You don't often see an islander without a welcoming smile on their face. And why shouldn't we smile? We have so many things to smile about


by Piraki Daniel who was a pupil at Avarua Primary School in Rarotonga

By Te Manava Syme-Buchanan (aged 6 at the time) 

What I like about my island is that it has got beautiful flowers which fragrances the whole place. Here you will find different kinds and different colours of flowers. What I like mostly is waterfalls, and all those other places you can visit that will change your likings. What I most like is the life. It is so easy to handle, not like in Australia you'll have to pay the water and power.

What I also like is the public. They are so kind. They share with us true tales that happened those days. On this island we do everything the easiest and simplest way. We cook our food traditionally and get our food from places you would never think where food could be. We have trees that surround the island and that produce water, meal and all those traditional crafts that we Cook Islanders make with our own bare hands.

It is mostly sunny and I'm always happy cause then I get to play and enjoy talking with my friends. Now over here is what I call PARADISE. I mean real paradise. That is what I like about my beautiful island.
Flowers are growing everywhere on Rarotonga
even on the trees
Fresh fish in the blue water
White sand, beautiful sweet shells
Big areas to play in
A lot of space to build our own house
Delicious food to eat
And a big sunny, sun to keep us warm


A call for solidarity and action from Ecumenical Pacific Youth, March 2004
World Council of Churches Pacific Consultation on Climate Change

Our land and ocean is our life
Our land and ocean is our love
Our land and ocean is our faith
Our land and ocean is our hope for the future generations in the Pacific.
Through the unconditional love of God who spoke, the temotu, venua, fonua, fanu, fenua of the Pacific came into existence for our survival and pride. Our Land and Moana (ocean) have and will continue to refresh our souls and spirit