In making the announcement on Monday evening at a press conference here, New Zealand prime minister John Key said the grant was in recognition of the Cook Islands’ 50th anniversary of self-government in free association with New Zealand.
Education secretary Sharyn Paio said the funds would be used to build a new technology block, administration centre, library and student guidance facilities.
“We are absolutely delighted.”
The grant is a step in the right direction to upgrade the national college which is delivering excellent academic results, said Paio.
Tereora students were far exceeding the performance of Cook Islands students in New Zealand. She added the ministry has struggled for a long time to provide Tereora College students the education and environment they deserved. Negotiations for New Zealand funding for Tereora had been going on for some time, said Paio and the $11.7 million grant was expected to be freed up soon. Rebuilding was expected to be completed by 2017.
The previous government came under fire for sourcing Chinese funding to build the little-used sports centre in Nikao, while next door the national college, with a roll of around 600 students, had deteriorated and remained in serious need of refurbishment.
Key said the New Zealand government will give the Cook Islands $42 million in aid over the next three years, with education being at the forefront.
Commenting on the Cook Islands’ 50th anniversary of self-governance in free association with New Zealand, Key said that since the ‘unprecedented’ arrangement had been established in 1965, the two countries had worked together to forge a unique relationship that was stronger today than ever.
“This anniversary is a significant milestone and New Zealand wants to mark the occasion with an enduring gift to Cook Islanders.
“Schools are both a cornerstone of the community and places of learning which help prepare our young people for the future.
“It is these students who will form the next generation of leaders and who will build on the relationship our countries have forged over the past 100 years.”