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Rarotonga (rärōtôngˈgä, rărətŏngˈgə) [key], formerly Goodenough's Island, volcanic island (2006 pop. 15,153), 26 sq mi (67 sq km), South Pacific, capital of the Cook Islands. The most southwesterly of the group, it is also the largest, most important, and by far the most populous. Avarua is the administrative seat and chief town and port of Rarotonga. Citrus fruit, copra, and pearl shell are exported. Tourism is an important industry. Rarotonga was visited in 1823 by the English missionary John Williams. The island was almost completely devastated by a hurricane in 1987.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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