- About Our Islands
The Multi-country office is based in Apia, Samoa and covers four Pacific Island countries in the Polynesian sub-region. The office was officially set up on 1st July 1979 with the aim of "making a difference in Pacific people’s lives” by supporting countries to accelerate progress on human development.
The MCO works closely with the four governments, non government organisations and partners on development programmes in the areas of Democratic Governance, Poverty Reduction, Crisis Prevention & Recovery,
Environment & Energy and Gender Mainstreaming.
Named after Captain James Cook who sighted them in 1770, the islands became a British protectorate in 1888. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to New Zealand. In 1965, residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand and have been ever since. Read More.
Niue's remoteness, as well as cultural and linguistic differences between its Polynesian inhabitants and those of the rest of the Cook Islands, have caused it to be separately administered. The population of the island continues to drop (from a peak of 5,200 in 1966 to an estimated 1,311 in 2011) with substantial emigration to New Zealand 2,400 km to the southwest. Read more.
With a total area of 3,030 square km, Samoa is an island archipelago with the two main islands of Upolu and Savaii. The terrain consists of narrow coastal plains with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior. The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, and agricultural exports. Read more.
Originally settled by Polynesian emigrants from surrounding island groups, the Tokelau Islands were made a British protectorate in 1889. They were transferred to New Zealand administration in 1925. Referenda held in 2006 and 2007 to change the status of the islands from that of a New Zealand territory to one of free association with New Zealand did not meet the needed threshold for approval. Read more.