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It is not customary to tip in the Cook Islands. Tipping is the exception rather than a norm. As tourism grows, and as more Cook Islanders return to their homeland, as opposed to living overseas in either New Zealand or Australia. There is a greater reliance upon supplementary income to support both the extended family & community interests. If the service or food is of high standard, consider a tip to acknowledge your appreciation of the occassion!
Until a few years ago all the travel brochures and tourist information stated that tipping was not usual practice in the Cook Islands. The practice of tipping is still not the norm, neither should it be in the Cook Islands. Although the obligatory tip-jars are often seen in restaurants within some neighbouring countries, they aren't yet apparent in the Cook Islands.