Lighthouses of the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands is loose archipelago of Polynesian islands located in the South Pacific southeast of Samoa and west of Tahiti and the other islands of French Polynesia. The islands fall into two groups, a Southern Group of volcanic islands (similar to Tahiti) and a Northern Group of low coral atolls. The country is described as a"self-governing state in free association with New Zealand," not a colony but not quite an independent nation. The population of the country is about 15,000.

The most populous island, Rarotonga, is in the south. It includes about 2/3 of the population of the country as well as the national capital, Avarua. Aitutaki, with a population of about 2,000, is said to be the second most visited island of the country; it is about 265 km (165 mi) north of Rarotonga but still part of the Southern Group. Scheduled air service is available to both islands.

The Cook Islands have no traditional lighthouses, but there are several minor lights. It is likely that Maritime New Zealand has assisted in the installation and maintenance of these lights.

Admiralty numbers are from volume K of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 111.

General Sources
World of Lighthouses - Cook Islands
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Map of Cook Islands
This map shows the relationships of the various islands.

Avarua Range Rear Light
Avarua Range Rear Light, Rarotonga, February 2009
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by sunmaya

Rarotonga Lightbeacons
* [Avatiu Range Rear]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); continuous blue light. 10 m (33 ft) pole carrying a small orange arrow daymark, point down, similar to the Avarua Range Rear Light seen above. In Barry Lockwood's view of the harbor, the range lights are visible to the right of the gable-roofed building in the left half of the photo. The pole is not seen in Google's satellite view. The front light, with an arrow daymark pointed up, is on a similar pole 50 m (165 ft) in front of the rear light; it is behind the yellow building (the port captain's office) in Delilah Hart's photo. The range guides vessels into the harbor, one of two on the north coast of Rarotonga. Located on the Avatiu waterfront, between the airport and the Avarua harbor. Site open. Admiralty K4559.1; NGA 3064.
* [Avarua Range Rear]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); blue light occulting once every 8 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) pole carrying a small orange triangular daymark, point down. The photo at the top of this page shows the range light standing in front of the Avarua courthouse, and Google has a satellite view. The front light is on a similar pole 18 m (60 ft) in front of the rear light. The range guides vessels into the harbor, one of two on the north coast of Rarotonga. Located on the Avarua waterfront, about 800 m (1/2 mi) east of the Avatiu harbor. Site open. Admiralty K4552.1; NGA 3056.

Aitutaki Lightbeacons
* [Arutunga Range Front]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); continuous red light. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) pole carrying a small orange triangular daymark, point up. A photo and a second photo are available, but the pole is not seen in Google's satellite view. The rear light is on a similar pole 280 m (920 ft) southeast of the front light. The range guides vessels through a dredged channel leading from a break in the coral reef to the wharf at Arutanga, on the west side of Aitutaki. Located on the Arutanga waterfront. Site open. Admiralty K4571; NGA 3077.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Samoa | East: French Polynesia | West: Niue

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Posted May 9, 2014. Checked and revised April 20, 2016. Lighthouses: 0. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.