The World Convention is currently building a global reference for the nearly 180 countries and territories where we know there are Christian – Churches of Christ – Disciples of Christ congregations. Rather than wait for comprehensive, complete information we are putting up details that we readily have available. If you can correct or add to this information, please contact us with details at firstname.lastname@example.org Reference for further information will be in the form of web sites and mailing addresses.
The Cook Islands are a self-governing territory of New Zealand located about 3,500 km (2,175 miles) northeast of New Zealand. Consisting of twenty-four widely separated atolls and volcanic islands the Cook Islands comprise an area of 240 sq km (93 sq miles) and boast a population of 20,000 people. The population is largely of Polynesian ancestry whom are believed to have inhabited the islands in the era of 500-800 A.D. The Spanish were among the first European visitors. Captain Cook explored the islands twice in the late eighteenth century. British missionaries Christianized the islands beginning in the early nineteenth century but European diseases soon decimated two-thirds of the native population. Annexed by New Zealand in 1901 the Cook Islands gained independence in 1965 but remain in free-association with New Zealand, who remains their largest trade partner. Agriculture is the foundation of the Islands’ economy but financial services and tourism are growing.
The Christian community in the Cook Islands accounts for 98% of the population with nearly 70% of the people belonging to the Cook Islands Church.
The American a cappella Churches of Christ began a work in the Cook Islands through the initial efforts of Robert Martin and Don Thornton in about 1987. Rarotonga Island was the site of a four-week campaign that resulted in a congregation being formed (eight members in 1995). The core of the congregation was the family of a New Zealand businessman. Ina Samual was converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ through an outreach of the World Bible School and two other students were later baptized. The congregation is fortunate to have a building that serves as both a place of worship/assembly and a place where correspondence courses for that part of Oceania could be conducted. In addition to the coursework, follow-up trips by experienced evangelists, Gospel meetings, tract distribution, personal work and training workshops have been employed to evangelize on the islands. Examples of such work include Tom Tune who was provided space in a local hospital on Rarotonga Island in which he fitted glasses. In the course of providing eye care Tom was able to speak with patients about religion. Tune also worked on Atutaki Island having gained initial entry for the purpose of teaching classes on boating. Malcolm Pointon has also spent time in evangelization on the islands. The Maple Hills Church of Christ in Lebanon, Tennessee (USA) has been a sponsoring congregation for the work in the Cook Islands.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1101 19th Avenue, South, Nashville, TN 37212-2112 (USA)
Telephone: (615) 327-1444
Website: http://www.discipleshistory.org (provides links to other historical sites and databases).
Online catalog: http://voyager.discipleshistory.org
For online directories of a cappella Churches of Christ see: