New Zealand has marked fifty years of special relations with the Cook Islands through a treaty of self governance with a grant to rebuild one of the country's main schools.
New Zealand and the Cook Islands entered into a self governing deal with the Cook Islands in 1965 and a delegation led by the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has arrived in Rarotonga for the celebrations.
Mr Key says the grant to rebuild Tereora College, worth US$7.7 million, comes on top of a US$27.7 million aid package for the next three years.
"One of the things that both New Zealand and Australia have been trying to do for our friends across the Pacific is to really bolster their economies and give local people much greater opportunities, particularly young people, to stay. A big part of that here is tourism and in fisheries, where New Zealand has been very actively involved trying to support the Cooks."
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.