Hstory of The Cook Islands
Much of the written history of the Cooks begins with the arrival of Europeans in the late 16th century.
It is known, however, that the first to arrive, around 600AD, were Polynesians from what we now know as French Polynesia (Tahiti), and the Samoas and Tonga (the Northern Group of islanders are thought to be from Samoa and Tonga and the Southern Group largely from the Society Islands and the Marquesas).
Overpopulation on many of the tiny islands of Polynesia led to these oceanic migrations.
Tradition has it that this was the reason for the expeditions of Ru, from Tupua’i in French Polynesia, who landed on Aitutaki, and for that of Tangiia, also from French Polynesia. Both are believed to have arrived on Rarotonga around 800 AD.
These arrivals are evidenced by the Ara Metua, an ancient road that runs around most of Rarotonga, and is believed to be at least 1200 years old. This 29 km long, paved road is a considerable achievement of ancient engineering, possibly unsurpassed elsewhere in Polynesia.