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NZ Foreign Minister’s marae visit will ‘strengthen ties’ with Cook Islands

Wednesday 12 October 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Local, National


NZ Foreign Minister’s marae visit will ‘strengthen ties’ with Cook Islands
Tupuna Rakanui, Te-O-Tari-Kura o te Are Ariki (Clerk) of the House of Ariki and former Clerk of Parliament. PHOTO: CI NEWS.

A special service at the Atupare Marae will be held today to honour the arrival of New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

The Minister is scheduled to arrive at Rarotonga Airport about 4pm, and then arrive at the Marae just before 5pm.

House of Ariki clerk Puna Rakanui said the event had been several months in the planning.

“It’s great she’s finally coming here, we had been planning for her to arrive earlier this year,” Rakanui said.

“Mahuta has got strong connections to the Cook Islands community.”

The event will also include representatives from Aitutaki, along with students from Takamoa College.

‘We’re hoping to get about 30 representatives from Aitutaki for the event, but that will depend on how many have commitments with the Cook Islands Games at the moment,” Rakanui said.

“We’re also looking forward to seeing how the Minister reacts to the occasion.”

“It’s the chance for us to celebrate the Cook Islands,” Rakanui said.

Rakanui said it was an opportunity to strengthen ties between Cook Islands and New Zealand.

“In 2015, the house of Airki made a visit to New Zealand, and met with 15 different iwi,” he said.

“It was a very special experience, and we’re hoping tomorrow will continue that bond between the House of Ariki and New Zealand Māori.”

Mahuta is also Māori Development Minister, which Rakanui said was important in terms of also strengthening indigenous ties between the Pacific Islands and New Zealand.

“I’m very much looking forward to meeting her.

“The last time we had a New Zealand Government Minister visit was when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern came about a year or so ago.”

Adern also visited the Marae.

“We hope the Minister enjoys her time in the Cook Islands, although we appreciate her time will be very busy.”

On Thursday, the Minister has a busy schedule, which includes a visit to Rarotonga Hospital, a bilateral visit with Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown which includes the signing of the statement of partnership between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, a visit to the Te Mato Vai project and to the Te Mana o te Vaka Project at the Tavioni Gallery.

She is scheduled to visit Manihiki on Friday.