group of islands in the South Pacific, west of the Society Islands: a self-governing territory associated with New Zealand: 113 sq mi (293 sq km); pop. 19,000
See Cook Islands in American Heritage Dictionary 4
An island group of the southern Pacific Ocean southeast of Samoa. Probably first inhabited by Polynesians more than 1,500 years ago, the islands were sighted by Capt. James Cook in 1773. They are now self-governing under the sovereignty of New Zealand.