Historical context

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The Cook Islands form a group of 15 islands located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean more than 3000 km northeast of New Zealand. The territory recognized by the UN as a "non-member state" is divided into two main groups: the Northern Cook Islands made up mainly of coral atolls and the Southern Cook Islands, of volcanic origin and whose main island, Rarotonga, is home to the capital Avarua. This archipelago bears the name of the great British navigator James Cook who explored them three times in 1773, 1774 and 1777!

The islands fell under British protectorate in 1888 then were annexed to New Zealand from 1901. They finally obtained their autonomy in 1965 by becoming a parliamentary monarchy which however remained under the influence of New Zealand. As a territory of New Zealand, the Cook Islands are now considered part of the Commonwealth of Nations.



Towards monetary independence

The British pound sterling monetary system lasted until 1933, then in 1965, when it gained autonomy, the Government of the Cook Islands decided to use the New Zealand monetary system. Prior to July 10, 1967, New Zealand used the New Zealand pound which had a fixed exchange rate against the British pound. After this date, New Zealand adopts a decimal system by introducing the New Zealand dollar at the rate of 2 NZD for 1 £ but the new currency remains fixed on the pound sterling. It is from December 23, 1971 that the rate of the New Zealand dollar is fixed on that of the American dollar, thus abandoning the pound sterling. In turn, the dollar is also adopted in the Cook Islands and becomes the Cook Island dollar (CKD).

Despite an aborted first issue of 3 denominations in 1894, the first banknotes only appeared from 1987 ... Discover now the 11 banknotes listed in the Numizon catalog!



Our sources

  • "The Banknote Book: Cook Islands" by Owen W. Linzmeyer.
  • "Cook Islands" Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1368-1960, 12th édition (pages 390).
  • "Cook Islands" Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1961-present, 17th édition (pages 267-268).
  • cgb.fr sales archives.
  • Reference site: "Banknote Museum".