Description of the Cook Islands Coat of Arms
The Coat of Arms of the Cook Islands has a shield as its focal point.
The shield contains the fifteen stars found on the national flag and denotes the protection of its people and country.
A flying fish (maroro) and a White Tern (kakaia) are on each side of the shield, one supporting a cross as a symbol for Christianity, the other holding a Rarotongan orator club (momore taringavaru) as a symbol for the richness of Cook Islands' tradition. Orators are known to hold it during traditional discourses.
The head-dress adorning the shield is an Ariki head-dress (pare kura) of red feathers, symbolising the importance of the traditional rank system where High Chiefs govern their people and respective districts. They are a key agency to be consulted by Government on issues relating to the land and people.
The coat of arms was designed by Papa Motu Kora, a Mataiapo, a traditional chiefly title from the village of Matavera in Rarotonga.