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  • AU PMB MS 1200
  • Collection
  • 1890-1941

The Constitution Act, which established the Federal Parliament, passed on 5 June 1891, provided for: 1. The local government of each island; 2. The constitution of the General Council for the Cook Islands which was styled “the Parliament” of the Cook Islands; 3. The appointment of an Executive Council to carry out the laws made by the Parliament and to look after the well-being of the islands when Parliament was not in session. This Council was styled “the Government” of the Cook Islands; 4. That all arikis (or kings and queens) of the islands should be ex officio members of the Government; 5. That Makea Takau be appointed to the office of Chief of the Government, that her administration be subject to the approval of the British Resident, and that all letters or other public documents issued by the Government are to be signed by her.
The British Resident, Frederick Moss was appointed in November 1890, taking over from his predecessors, C. E. Goodman, Honorary British Consul, 1881-1883, and Richard Exham, Acting British Vice-Consul, 1883-1891. On 12 September 1898 Moss handed over to Lt Col William E. Gudgeon who continued as the NZ Administration’s Resident Commissioner till 1909.
In 1900, when the sovereignty of Rarotonga and other Cook Islands was ceded to Britain, the Federal Parliament of the Cook Islands was abolished under the terms of the annexation. In accordance with Imperial Order in Council, 13 May 1901, the boundaries of New Zealand were extended to include Rarotonga and the other Cook Islands. The Cook and other Islands Government Act, passed by the NZ Parliament in 1901, replaced the Cook Islands Federal Parliament with a Federal Council of Arikis which had the right to make enactments known as “Federal Ordinances”. The British Resident was President of the Council, with Makea Ariki as Chief of the Government.
In December 1901 the members of the Federal Council were: Makea Ariki, Tinomana Ariki & Pa Ariki, Rarotonga; Ngamaru Ariki & Karika Ariki, Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro; John Trego Ariki & Nohoroa Ariki, Mangaiia; Vaiuarangi Ariki & Te Urukura Ariki, Aitutaki; Papu Mahuta Ariki, Penrhyn; Iesi Ariki, Rakahanga; Aporo Ariki, Manahiki.

Cook Islands Federal Government minutes 1891-96; Federal Parliament minutes, 1897-1901, and papers, 1897-99; High Commissioner’s Court minutes, 1899-1901; Aitutaki Council minutes Oct 1893; Acting British Vice-Consul letters 1884-86; British Resident correspondence register 1894-95; British Resident letters-in, 1892-1901; British Resident/Resident Commissioner letters-out 1890-95, 1897-1910 (n.b. gaps: some of these press copy letter books are badly damaged.); Ambrose Morgan case file, 1896-98; Thos H Mallett inquest file, 1899; CI Federation Acts and Determinations, 1890-97; Rarotongan Ariki genealogies, 1909; Rarotonga Island Council minutes 1917-1941; Resident Commissioner’s office annual report files, 1913-28.
See Finding aids for details.

Cook Islands Federation and New Zealand Administration