Cook Islands government has promised help to students in New Zealand impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
High Commissioner Elizabeth Wright-Kotekasaid they were overwhelmed by the number of students who reached out to them.
“From when New Zealand shifted to Covid-19 alert Level 3, through to until just last week, our office made phone calls to over 100 students still within New Zealand, to check on their welfare and ensure that they had the necessary support to continue on with their studies during these difficult times,” she said.
“This was followed by the processing of upwards of 80 applications for financial assistance.”
This was just one aspect of a wider student engagement the Cook Islands Government intends to pursue over the coming years.
She said relevant agencies were working closely together to ensure students were adequately supported and bolstered during their studies, with the long-term goal of encouraging them to return home when they qualify.
The High Commission says that the financial assistance was drawn down from the remaining balance of Taokotai'anga 2019 support, provided through an administered fund managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
The fund was initially intended to be used towards a Cook Islands tertiary leadership retreat earlier in the year, the funds were redirected after Covid-19 meant that plans for a 2020 leadership retreat had to be postponed.