The Secretary of Health on the Cook Islands hopes the re-opening of a nursing school in Rarotonga will help solve a shortage of nurses on the outer islands.
Elizabeth Iro announced last week that the school will re-open in July, after being closed in 2008.
The Secretary says the Cook Islands has trouble recruiting nurses, especially for the outer islands, and training nurses within their communities may entice them to stay and keep helping their own people.
Ms Iro says the school will train nurses to deal with local issues.
"We need to be developing our own nurses to work in our own environment, and I think the benefit to the outer islands is if we can get the nurses from each island to go back and actually look after their own people."
Eliazabeth Iro says a curriculum has been developed that meets New Zealand qualification standards and the ministry wants specialists from Auckland to teach some components.
She says the ministry is also looking into possible corporate sponsorship for some students.