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23 January 2021

LETTERS: Covid-free Cooks travellers at ‘risk’ & the health of Muri lagoon

Wednesday 6 January 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


LETTERS: Covid-free Cooks travellers at ‘risk’ & the health of Muri lagoon
Photo: Cook Islands News. 20050837

Letter writers and online comments weigh in on covid-19 travel between Cook Islands and NZ, and Muri Lagoon - one of the "crown jewels" of Rarotonga.

I was hopeful that we would not have to go into quarantine in New Zealand when we arrived on January 2. I had read that NZ government was developing protocols to separate passengers from high risk countries, such as the US, and low risk countries, such as Rarotonga, at the airport. This was to be the first step in getting rid of quarantine for Cook Islands passengers.

However, as far as I could see, there was no change at the airport in Auckland and all passengers were processed through the same locations. The only change I saw was that the 10 passengers on our flight had to wait for the passengers on an earlier flight to be cleared before we were processed. We were then bused separately to our hotel, which fortunately was in Mangere, not Hamilton or Rotorua.

Processing at the hotel took about 30 minutes and we were into our room. Nice room, king bed, TV (not smart tv so no Netflix), free internet, and a big carpark for exercise from 7am to 9pm. Meals are OK, but wouldn’t mind some toast or even a sandwich instead of rice!

The only thing that does concern me is that obviously other guests in the hotel come from countries where Covid is rife – some of them have been in contact with the virus and are not allowed out of their rooms. It doesn’t make sense in my mind to mix us coming from Covid free Raro, with people coming from US, UK, Europe and Asia. The NZ news also says the new strain of virus has arrived in NZ – I hope it’s not in our hotel!

Anyway, we have 10 more days to go and we will have plenty of time to catch up with each other as well as our family on WhatsApp.

We are grateful we are able to travel to NZ at a time when the rest of the world is in chaos. Keep safe everybody!

Reuben Tylor


New Zealand

Muri lagoon

The links between lagoon flushing, lagoon water level, waves on the south/southeast coasts and lagoon water temperature were measured in 2018.

It is well documented that waves influence the lagoon water level as much as tides do, and waves are the main driver of lagoon flushing. Low waves from south = low lagoon water level and low flushing.

Any climate variable, cycle or season that influences waves therefore influences flushing and water temperature – as will climate change.

So, this event is a combination of human inputs to runoff and groundwater along with climate influences that are creating the low flushing rates and low water levels that have been seen recently.

Matt Blacka


Years ago, in 2003 I reported on the toxic algae in the lagoon, sadly still the lagoon is toxic. Sedimentation, eutrophication, chemicals – Muri has it all.

I worry if the island cannot look after one little lagoon, you sure cannot oversee 1000s km of ocean seafloor under seabed mining.

Do not use climate change as an excuse. COTs (crown of thorns) and ciguatera started in the 80s.

Mark Marzuki Philip Skinner