Cook Islands marks 50 years of self government
The Cook Islands has been celebrating its fiftieth anniversary of self government, with a New Zealand delegation led by prime minister John Key in attendance.
The Cook Islands has been celebrating its 50th anniversary of self government, with a New Zealand delegation led by prime minister John Key in attendance.
New Zealand entered into a self governing deal with the Cook Islands in 1965.
This week, New Zealand's government has marked the anniversary with a grant to rebuild one of the country's main schools.
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.
Our reporter in Rarotonga for the celebrations, Sally Round has more.
SALLY ROUND: This was the birthday gift to the Cook Islands in celebration of this 50 years of self-governance and the prime minister announced that there would be this 11.7 million dollar upgrade of a school, the main school on Rarotonga. I guess the significance of this particular project is the fact that many of the Cook Islands young people head to New Zealand for their education and this is a way of trying to sort of keep those young here and foster growth in the Cook Islands itself which does suffer from the effects of depopulation especially in the more remote island s.
JOHNNY BLADES: This wasn't some sort of attempt to deflect the whole United Nations issue which the Cook Islands has been sort of looking at lately?
SR: Well, there's definitely was a celebratory event and there was a huge turnout to welcome the prime minister and his very large delegation to Rarotonga. The UN issue we did ask about at the press conference, I asked the prime minister of the Cook Islands, Henry Puna, whether that was broached at the talks and he said no, it wasn't the time, it was a time to celebrate friendship but he did indicate though that he would not be dropping this bid by the Cook Islands to have a seat at the UN and he thought that probably it would be best dealt with in the Pacific Islands Forum and other talks.
JB: So I suppose this whole anniversary has been a real affirmation of the relationship and a celebration.
SR: Hundreds of people have come into Rarotonga from the outer islands to celebrate this event but this is about the Cook Islands independence not just about friendship with New Zealand, that self-governance they gained in 1965 and more and more independence as they seek to carve out more relationships on their own in the wider world and not relying on New Zealand for foreign affairs. The only responsibility that New Zealand has now is for the defence of the Cook Islands.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: