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    Cook Islands

    The first missionaries arrived in 1899, but failed to gain converts. Elder Osborne J.P. Widtsoe and a companion, Elder Mervin Davis, arrived in Rarotonga 23 May 1899, becoming the first Church missionaries in the Cook Islands.

    During World War II, Matthew Cowley, then president of the New Zealand Mission, assigned Fritz Kruger, a New Zealand baker who owned a business at Avarua, Rarotonga, to help establish the Church on the Cook Islands. He and his family subsequently moved to Rarotonga, and their first convert was Samuel Glassie and his family.

    In 1946, a couple, Elder and Sister Trevor Hamon, and later Elders Donlon DeLaMare and John L. Sorenson were sent to Avarua. By 1949, 160 Cook Islanders had joined the Church. During the next decades, the Cook Islands were transferred to several missions in an attempt to maintain better communication with the remote location. The islands were part of the Samoan Mission (1954), New Zealand North Mission (1966), Fiji Mission (1971), and the Tahiti Papeete Mission (1975). The Islands are now part of the New Zealand Auckland Mission.

    President David O. McKay visited in 1955. A Rarotonga Mission was created 20 November 1960, but later became part of the New Zealand Mission. In the early 1960s, the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ was translated into Cook Island Maori. In 1979, there were 718 members in 10 branches (small congregations) in the Cook Islands. President Spencer W. Kimball visited Rarotonga in February 1981 during a trip to the South Pacific and held a short service with members there in an airport hangar.

    In 1990, the government issued a series of stamps featuring the first missionaries to the Cook Islands of various denominations. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stamp featured a painting of Elder Widtsoe in the foreground and a drawing of a Church building in the background. On 4-7 September 1996, Church members celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Church in the Cook Islands. During the four-day celebration, members participated in dances, exhibits, sporting events, district conference, and other gatherings.

    For Journalist Use Only

    Richard Hunter
    New Zealand
    Phone:  64(9)488-5572
    Mobile: 64-21-240-7804

    E-mail: Hunterra@ldschurch.org

    1,843

    Total Church Membership

    3

    Family History Centers

    5

    Congregations

    North America

    9,253,590

    Total Church Membership

    192

    Missions

    2,866

    Family History Centers

    18,159

    Congregations

    109

    Temples

    South America

    4,038,045

    Total Church Membership

    94

    Missions

    979

    Family History Centers

    5,545

    Congregations

    17

    Temples

    Europe

    516,003

    Total Church Membership

    43

    Missions

    710

    Family History Centers

    1,422

    Congregations

    12

    Temples

    Asia

    1,155,764

    Total Church Membership

    42

    Missions

    333

    Family History Centers

    1,973

    Congregations

    8

    Temples

    Oceania (Pacific)

    552,825

    Total Church Membership

    18

    Missions

    338

    Family History Centers

    1,251

    Congregations

    10

    Temples

    Africa

    578,310

    Total Church Membership

    31

    Missions

    285

    Family History Centers

    2,004

    Congregations

    3

    Temples

    Worldwide Statistics

    16,118,169

    Total Church Membership

    421

    Missions

    159

    Temples

    30,506

    Congregations

    67,049

    Missionaries

    15

    Missionary Training Centers

    4

    Universities & Colleges

    404,270

    Seminary Students Enrollment

    357,760

    Institute Student Enrollment

    5,100

    Family History Centers

    10,238

    Welfare Services Missionaries (Incl. Humanitarian Service Missionaries)

    188

    Published Languages

    140

    Countries with Family History Centers

    189

    Countries Receiving Humanitarian Aid (Since 1985)