The Parliament building was formerly a hotel. The parliament consists of 24 members and was formed on 24 April 1965. It is self-governing in free association with New Zealand, which retains responsibility for external affairs. The House of Ariki comprises traditional chiefs who advise this parliament without having any executive powers.
Marguerite Story, OBE (1922-2009) was the first woman in the Commonwealth to be Speaker of a national parliament. She served between 1965 and 1979 and was also the first female cabinet minister in the Cook Islands. She was the sister of Sir Albert Henry.
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