The Cook Islands

The Cook Islands (Kūki 'Āirani) is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand It is composed of 15 small islands whose total land area is 240 square kilometres (92.7 sq mi). The Cook Islands' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), however, covers 1,800,000 square kilometres (690,000 sq mi) of ocean. Defence and foreign affairs are the responsibility of New Zealand, in consultation with the Cook Islands. In recent times, the Cook Islands have adopted an increasingly independent foreign policy. Although Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, they have the status of Cook Islands nationals, which is not given to other New Zealand citizens.
The coat of arms of The Cook Islands is below:
File:Coat of arms of cook islands.gif
The shield is blue with fifteen white stars (one for each island) arranged in a circle, as found on the national flag, and is supported by a flying fish (maroro) and a White Tern (kakaia). The helmet is an ariki head-dress (pare kura) of red feather, symbolising the importance of the traditional rank system, and the name of the nation is on a banner below the shield. The achievement is augmented by a cross and a Rarotongan club (momore taringavaru) used by orators during traditional discourses, respectively symbolizing Christianity and the richness of Cook Islands' tradition, placed in saltire behind the shield.

The current flag is below:
File:Flag of the Cook Islands.svg
The flag is based on the traditional design for former British colonies in the Pacific region. It is a blue ensign containing the Union Flag in the upper left, and on the right, fifteen stars in a ring. The Union Flag is symbolic of the nation's historic ties to the United Kingdom and to the Commonwealth of Nations. The stars stand for the fifteen islands that make up the Cook Islands (TongarevaRakahangaManihikiPukapuka, Nassau, Suwarrow, Palmerston, AitutakiManuae, Takutea, AituMitiaroMauke,Rarotonga and Mangaia). The blue represents the ocean and the peaceful nature of the inhabitants.
I am going to address two main flag related items about the Cook Islands, first are national flags. I think this flag can be misinterpreted suggesting that the islands are a British Overseas Territory rather than a (mostly) independent country, if it was going to relate to any other nation it should be New Zealand?
There have of course been varyous flags representing the Cook Islands see here.

My first idea taking replacing the UK flag with something more NZ like:
I thought green and gold from the 1973 flag should be used, The green colour represented continuous growth and life; the yellow represented the faith, love, happiness, and commitment shown by the islanders. I kept some blue as I like the way its seen to represent the ocean and peaceful living, it also ties in with the current NZ flag. The red southern Cross of New Zealand is at the hoist. However as you might agree this is awful looking.
So I improved it by placing the Southern Cross inside the circle of stars:
However I would prefare no references to any other nation only the Cook Islands so the flag can be used no matter what the future holds:
My ideas for maritime ensigns are as fallows:
Like most Commonwealth Civil ensigns it is red, but still has the original blue and green layout.
The government ensign is below:
Again reflective of the Commonwealth its blue, I used white stars as I think they stand out more.
These are my prefaced flags but encase NZ ensigns need to be used I still feel they should reflect the islands, for example for the merchant ensign use the NZ red ensign but with the Cook Stars below the union flag. The Government ensign would be the same but Blue. There is also a  'Queen's Representative  on the islands, who have their own flag, currently the national flag but with a crown in the centre of the stars. If the National flag changes then the Queen's Representative flag should change, my idea is below:
It is based on the current flag but with a Green Field, I decided to keep the UK flag in as its the monarch's representative. Although the Queen's Representative has a flag, I am not aware of a Royal Banner for the islands, so I based it on the above flag but with the Queen's Personal emblem on it which often appears on the Royal Banners of the Commonwealth:

That's national flags out of the way what about flags for the individual islands? I also made some suggestions. However not

all the islands are inhabited so I didn't make flags for all the islands, as I don't see the point of an uninhabited island having a flag.

First is Tongareva also called Penrhyn:

It features the national colours and national stars in the Canton, the two stars in the fly represent the island's to villages.

Rakahanga:

This flag also features the national colours, and stars in the canton. The two big stars represents the two tribes, each tribe is divided into seven sub groups each represented by the smaller stars round the main two stars.
Manihiki:
The flag of Manihiki represents the same ethnic break up as Rakahanga, however the central blue bar is replaced with gold to distinguish it.
Pukapuka:
Pukapuka is a coral atoll, with three small islets, the three green star represent the islets they also represent the geographic positions of them. 
Aitutaki:
The Atutaki flag is a simple green flag with eight stars representing the eight villages.
Mitiaro:
The flag features the national stars in the canton with four gold and blue bars representing the four inhabited villages.
Mauke:
A blue flag with four gold stars at the hoist representing the sub divisions and the national ring of stars at the fly.
Rarotonga:
The flag features three green and blue bars and three white stars representing the three sub divisions and three tribes on the island.

Last but not least is Mangaia:
The flag features six stars representing the sub divisions and a broke Union Jack. The reason there is a broken UK flag is down to one of the islands stories.
In the 19th Century during a trip to London,the Islands ruler Numangatini, or"King" John of Mangaia, received from Queen Victoria herself a Union Jack. The flag still exists, albeit in two pieces, half is supposed to be in Oneroa, and the other half in Tonga. The broken Union Jack in two pices is reflected on the flag. There is however an alternative without the Union Jack:


All Comments Welcome

All new designs by Samuel McKittrick some information from Wikipedia 

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