Cook Islands Rugby League say they're dumfounded by the Kiwis late withdrawal from next week's Test match in Rarotonga.
The match was due to take place on October 6 but New Zealand Rugby League chief executive Jim Doyle says with 29 frontline contenders unable to play it had no option but to cancel the match.
The President of Cook Islands Rugby League, Charles Carlson, says their national squad only assembed yesterday so for New Zealand to cancel the game, without notice, at such a late stage had left them somewhat in the lurch.
"We're pretty dumbfounded when we heard yesterday afternoon. In fact we were just in a meeting trying to tidy up a few things and looking at our promotion and the brochures and how we're going to make sure this thing is the best we can do to make the event a success. Then to be told the Kiwis had pulled the plug on the tour, we didn't know what to say to be honest, we were just staring at each other."
Charles Carlson says the cancellation could leave them substantially out of pocket but key sponsors have told them they still have their support.