Residents welcome quarantine free travel to NZ

Friday 15 January 2021 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National


Residents welcome quarantine free travel to NZ
Thomas Wynne and his wife Juanita. Photo: OFFICE OF THE PM / 21011405

Residents are reacting positively to this week's announcement of quarantine-free travel to New Zealand.

The two governments yesterday announced travellers from Cook Islands will not have to undergo 14-day quarantine on arrival in NZ from Wednesday next week.

Thomas Wynne, a Cook Islander working in NZ, says this is great news for those in the Cook Islands wanting to return including him and his wife who will be on next Saturday’s flight to Auckland.

“It gives both countries the opportunity to identify any glitches in the travel between both countries, with regard to keeping each other Covid free in the build-up in possibly March or April of tourists from New Zealand able to travel to the Cook Islands and back again without quarantine,” Wynne said.

He said the one-way travel bubble would allow Cook Islanders to travel to NZ for health checks, medical supplies, shopping and to visit families.

“I know plenty of Cook Islanders I have met this year in Auckland and Wellington that were desperate to get home to meet and see family and those here in Rarotonga longing to do the same. We are travelling people because of our New Zealand passport and this announcement will be welcomed by Cook Islanders on both sides for so many reasons but none more than the opportunity to connect again.”

However Wynne is also wary of and hoping the one-way bubble “is a measured and staggered ease of the borders, as the Cook Islands will suffer terribly if any of the strains of Covid arrived and it would create a climate of fear and concern for our most vulnerable including my parents who are elderly and live in Rarotonga”.

Maeva Poaru, a student at Auckland University of Technology, also welcomed quarantine free travel to New Zealand.

Poaru, who is completing a Bachelor in Health Science, returned home to Rarotonga on Christmas day and is scheduled to fly back to NZ by the end of this month.

Maeva Poaru (left) with sisters Vaihere Meti Nicholas and Katrulena Meti Nicholas. SUPPLIED / 21011407

“This brings a great relief to my family as they were prepared to pay the extra costs on quarantine.

“I am excited for it and thank the New Zealand and Cook Islands Government for this arrangement. We have certainly missed home and are very fortunate to be able to come home and spend quality time with our families.”