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Oceania, Cook Islands

Cook Islands, self-governing island group in free association with New Zealand, in the South Pacific Ocean. Hawaii lies 4,500 km (2,800 mi) to the north, and New Zealand is 2,600 km (1,600 mi) to the southwest. The Cook Islands group has its closest cultural affinities with Tahiti, located 1,000 km (600 mi) to the east. A former colony of New Zealand, the Cooks gained self-government in 1965. Avarua, the capital, is located on the island of Rarotonga.

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