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The Cook Islands are located between American Samoa (west of the Cook Islands) and French Polynesia (east of the Cook Islands) in the South Pacific Ocean. The distance from Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands, to French Polynesia is approximately 1,100 km.
Location of the Cook Islands in terms of coordinates is not easy to define. The land surface area of the Cook Islands is very small (about 240 square km), but the islands are scattered across a huge part of the South Pacific Ocean. The greatest distances between individual islands within the Cook Islands far exceed a thousand km.
The largest of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga, is situated just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. The coordinates of Rarotonga are 21°14′ S 159°47′ W. However, some of the Northern Cook Islands are far to the north, around 10° S.
The distance between Rarotonga and American Samoa is about 1,400 km (Rarotonga is south-east of Pago Pago). Some of the Northern Cook Islands are actually much closer to American Samoa than to Rarotonga. For example, the distance between Pago Pago and Nassau Island or Pukapuka is only about 650 km and the Northern Cook Islands lie to the north-east of American Samoa.
The Cook Islands are approximately 2,800 km to the north-east of New Zealand. This distance is between Rarotonga and North Island of New Zealand. Cook Islands have very tight relations with New Zealand – the inhabitants of the Cook Islands are formally New Zealand citizens.
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