When people think of the Cooks Islanders they often think of Australians and Kiwis (just look at their rugby teams). If that's the case then you won't be surprised to learn that the population of the Cook Islands is less than 15,000 but there are over 50,000 Cook Islanders living in New Zealand, and over 30,000 in Australia.
However, the Cook Islands Maoris are of Polynesian descent and make up nearly 90% of the population. They are very closely linked in culture and language to the Maori of New Zealand and the French Polynesians.
Cook Islanders are bright and colourful people who love to dance. They don't love tipping though as it's against their culture so beware, you may offend.
Today, Cook Islanders are devout Christians and most islanders are associated with the Cook Islands Christian Church (CICC). Sunday is a day of rest and churchgoing. Singing in church is an evocative icon of the Cook Islands and a Sunday church service is well worth a visit and a cracking way to spend a morning on the Islands.
Although life on the islands is extremely laid back, it's a very conservative society and you should dress and behave so as not to offend (no topless sunbathing please). Enjoy it but don't flaunt it!