The protection of areas and species of special significance is not a new concept in the Cook Islands. The concept of reserves has existed in the Cook Islands for hundreds of years in one form or another.
The imposition of the raui system: a traditional system whereby access to a particular resource or area is forbidden for a given period, is still being practised in the Cook Islands.
Although it appears that the raui system aims at the conservation of food resources, rather than a specific environmental protection mechanism, it is in essence the protecting of ecological system in the lagoons and reefs and other marine resources.
In the Cook Islands today, there exists National Parks and Conservation Areas aimed at the conservation of species primarily for specie survival rather than as a resource to be replenished. The reserves range from whole island reserves to specific locations on various islands.
Below, you will find information on existing reserves in the Cook Islands today.
Whole Island Reserves
Whole Island reserves encapsulate that entire island or ocean that is named as a Sanctuary or National Park.