Cook Islands

Tourism industry calls for clarity on border reopening plans

In December, Cabinet agreed in principle to establish a travel bubble with Australia in the first three months of this year.

While the news was welcomed, those in the tourism industry said they needed to ensure there was enough time to get ready for an influx of overseas visitors.

The managing director of the Scenic Hotel Group, Brendan Taylor, said it would take two to three months for the airlines to ramp up, if the borders reopened.

He said operators needed time to prepare and ensure they have enough staff to cater for incoming guests.

New king crowned on Mangaia in the Cooks

Tangi Tereapii was installed Numangatini Ariki at a packed ceremony and feast at Te Maruata-Nui-o-Numangatini Marae.

The Cook Islands News reports the celebration was attended by the whole island, as well as dignitaries from Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu.

A Mangaia resident, 77-year-old Allan Tuara, said it was one of the biggest investiture ceremonies he had witnessed.

For younger generations, he said, this would have been the biggest event of their lives, featuring many gifts, items and speeches from each puna as well as guests from Rarotonga and other islands.

Cook Islands closes border over re-emergence of Covid-19 in NZ

The Office of the Prime Minister said this came after concern over the re-emergence of Covid-19 in the Auckland community.

A review of the order is expected on 17 August, ahead of the next flight from Auckland to Rarotonga, scheduled to arrive in Rarotonga on 21 August.

The Cook Islands News reported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration saying preventing Covid-19 from entering the county was a top priority for the government, and this was the appropriate response "while the source and extent of spread in New Zealand is being determined".

Cook Islands monarch marks 30 years

However, the usually Rarotonga-based Pa Ariki was stranded in New Zealand due to Covid-19 restrictions so a formal event took place in Auckland.

Pa Ariki's son and representative Tupeariki Rangatira said he watched the celebrations from Rarotonga via webcam.

He said the Takitimu Hall at Mangere Bridge was full of dignitaries from Aotearoa and the Cook Islands including the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio and New Zealand's Cook Island MPs Alfred Ngaro and Poto Williams.

Beyond the formalities, he said it was full of dance and song.

Cook Islands keen to lose developed country status quickly

Its status was changed earlier this year by the OECD, a graduation which restricts access to funds from the likes of the World Bank.

That change was off the back of phenomenal growth in tourism, an industry which has disappeared because of Covid-19.

Mark Brown, who is also the finance minister, said the OECD's criteria is based on a country's income.

"It's inevitable that our classification will change. We would like to see that process recognised now, rather than waiting to the end of a year period to have the measurements or assessments taken."

Cook Islands PM says reopening borders a key priority

Henry Puna said it may be the only way to kick start the economy.

In locking down the country on the 5th of March, Mr Puna said he wouldn't compromise the health of his people for economic gains.

Speaking to the Cook Islands News this week, Mr Puna said the country remains Covid-19 free, and any reopening would have to ensure that it remained that way.

But he said the Rarotonga Hospital now has an isolation area and coronavirus testing kits.

The Cook Islands declared Covid-19-free

Starting last night's address to the nation, Prime Minister Henry Puna thanked God for giving people courage and strength during the country's greatest threat in modern history.

He said hundreds of Covid-19 tests taken in the Cook Islands had come back negative, and the country can officially be confirmed as a Covid-free zone - one of the first nations in the world to do so.

This means some of the more restrictive Code Yellow measures introduced in late March to stop the virus, will now be eased.

Stricter measures introduced in Guam, Cook Islands

Countries around the Pacific are continuing to further isolate themselves in a bid to stave off a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the region.

Six cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the Pacific - three in Guam and three in French Polynesia - since Thursday. No new cases were declared on Monday.

After three residents were confirmed to have Covid-19 on Sunday, Guam's government restricted public gatherings and closed all public schools on Monday. It also closed government offices for two weeks.

Cook Islands Rugby League undaunted by 'group of death'

The draw was made on Friday with Fiji grouped with champions Australia, Scotland and Italy and New Zealand have been drawn alongside, Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland.

But the Cook Islands, who have only just qualified for the tournament, are locked in to play what many regard as the 'group of death'.

The Kukis go up against the remarkable Tongans, who most recently upset Australia, Papua New Guinea and Wales.

Cook Islands coach Tony Iro said his team was excited at the prospect of playing top teams.

Cook Islands tame Tongans at World Cup Nines

Kayal Iro, son of Kiwis great Kevin Iro, ran in two of the Cooks' six tries; the Tongans only cut the chalk once.

Earlier, the Papua New Guinea men's team defeated the USA, 27-10.

Junior Vavai scored the opening try for the US before the former Hunters players Watson Boas, Edene Gebbie and Stargroth Amean ran in three of PNG's six tries.

Meanwhile, Samoa were too good for Fiji, winning 32-17.

Brian To'o scored two of Samoa's six tries; Fiji ran in three.

Today in Sydney, Samoa take on the Cooks, Tonga meet Fiji and PNG face New Zealand.