The first occurrence of Europeans on the Cook Islands was in 1595 on Pukapuka, one of the Northern Islands, then again in 1606 and thereafter. Although the most seemingly significant European visit was by Captain Cook in 1773, hence how the islands got their name – Cook Islands. Before his appearance the islands were generally called Manihiki Islands: he endowed his name within the southern islands. Throughout time missionaries brought with them many diseases although the culture and traditions were less influenced and less removed, according to current research, than many other places throughout history. The objective was self-sufficiency for the island but this goal had never been fully accomplished due to a number of reasons (although maybe from the islanders original perspective they found themselves to be self-sufficient?) Nowadays, the islanders govern internal affairs, but defense and foreign policy are in New Zealand’s hands. Interesting how throughout time things change so deeply! Check the map!