Cook Islands

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Cook Islands — In the heart of the Pacific Ocean lies the Cook Islands. While not as well known as the neighboring island groups of Samoa, Tonga or Tahiti, the Cook Islands have enjoyed a legacy of Church faith that now spans five generations.

The gospel was first preached in the Cook Islands by Elder Sidney Hanks during a fleeting visit on his way to Tahiti in 1857. The first missionaries to the Cook Islands arrived May 23, 1899, but failed to gain any converts and left three years later, according to the Church almanac. Early missionary work was hampered by religious opposition from other Christian churches already established on the island and by the fact that few locals could speak English. Subsequent missionaries overcame this second obstacle by mastering Maori, the local language of the Cook Islands.

During World War II, Matthew Cowley, then president of the New Zealand Mission, assisted Fritz Bunge Kruger from New Zealand to establish the Church in the Cook Islands on the main island of Rarotonga.

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