4 Aug 2015

NZ pledges nearly $12m to Cooks rebuild

4:29 pm on 4 August 2015

New Zealand has marked 50 years of special relations with the Cook Islands with a grant to rebuild one of the country's main schools.

New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, has arrived in Rarotonga with a large delegation to celebrate the anniversary.

The pledge of nearly $11.7 million New Zealand dollars marks 50 years since the Cooks loosened ties with its neighbour through a treaty of self governance in free association with New Zealand.

The funds for the rebuild of Tereora College are on top of New Zealand's $42 million aid arrangement with the Cooks over the next three years.

Cook Islanders are also New Zealand citizens under the friendship deal and permanent migration, especially of young people, is a major headache for the Cooks.

Mr Key says schools are a cornerstone of the community and students will form the next generation of leaders.

NZ PM John Key lands in Rarotonga.

NZ PM John Key lands in Rarotonga. Photo: RNZI / Sally Round