Cook Islanders happy and eager to welcome their first visitors in over a year. 21051730
The first tourists in 14 months were welcomed at Rarotonga Airport yesterday by cheering locals, many too excited to contain themselves.
hugs, and some tears were shed as visitors were finally welcomed back after
what was for many a long and painful wait.
fresh scent of flowers from countless head and neck ei filled the air, which
seemed to shake to life the international arrivals area which had not seen this
much life and colour in a long time.
wary locals hung back, a little apprehensively, and kept their distance with a
face mask at hand, something that Covid-free Rarotonga – unlike the rest of the
world – has had no need for, until now.
hundred and ninety-seven (297) passengers arrived on yesterday’s flight, each
welcomed with a hearty cheer from Rarotonga residents as they walked through
first two people to step through the airport doors were Debra Mei and Clarke
Truscott who weren’t planning on wasting a single minute of their holiday and
rushed to secure some means of transportation from one of the rental companies
The first two tourists to walk through Rarotonga Airport’s doors, Debra Mei and Clarke Truscott - 21051727
is so awesome to be able to be here. Last year was pretty tough on everybody
not being able to go anywhere, so we are so excited to finally be able to enjoy
a tropical holiday once again,” Mei said.
person arriving was greeted first by the iconic aunties, Nane and Lydia,
representatives of Cook Islands Tourism, and then by the team at CookSafe who
worked diligently to ensure everybody signed in with their CookSafe cards and
that nobody drove out of the airport without first following through with each
of the Covid-19 precautionary measures.
and Lesley Pether from Auckland have been eagerly waiting to come to Rarotonga
since Covid-19 forced the country’s borders to shut on New Zealand and the rest
of the world.
will spend eight days in total on holiday, staying a few days at the Little
Polynesian Resort and then travelling to Aitutaki for the remainder of their
said they are most looking forward to the “peace, quiet and warmth of the Cook
Islands”, and were glad to finally get away from blustery Auckland which was
howling with wind and rain yesterday morning when they left.
couple, who are first time visitors to the Cook Islands, were greeted by a wet,
gloomy weather in Rarotonga yesterday but are optimistic for some sunny days
arriving on the flight was the first group of the New Zealand Medical
Assistance Team (NZMAT) who are here to help with the rollout of the Covid-19
will be stationed at the Rarotonga Hospital and will be working with Te Marae
Ora over the next six weeks to administer the vaccine to the eligible
Visitors from New Zealand arriving on Monday’s flight. 21051731
we are confident to reopen our borders to New Zealand, we must emphasise to all
our visitors, and to tourism operators, the importance of applying pragmatic
physical distancing and good hygiene measures,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
wrote in ‘The Cook Islands Promise,’ a joint commitment to protect all Cook
Islands residents and international visitors from Covid-19.
has certainly been a rollercoaster ride for both sides of the bubble during the
Zealanders who have been confined to their own homes and their own shores for
so long will finally be able to visit their Cook Islands friends and Cook
Islanders will now at least be given the opportunity to begin their financial
differing views on whether or not they are in favour of the borders opening,
everybody present at the airport could not help but offer a warm Cook Islands
welcome and a smile to visitors, and a heartfelt ‘Kia Orana’ once more.