The Cook Islands is a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand. The country consists of a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean with an area of approximately 237 sq km and 120 km of coastline. The Cook Islands’ terrain consists of low coral atolls in the north, and volcanic, hilly islands in the south. Avarua (on Rarotonga) is the capital, with a time difference of 10 hours behind GMT. The currency is the New Zealand dollar, and the main export is black pearls. The population of approximately 11,900 people comprises an ethnic makeup that is 87.7% Cook Island Maori (Polynesian). The primary language is English and Cook Islands Maori, and the predominant religion is Christianity.