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‘Two countries but one people’: Cook Islands, New Zealand strengthen ties

Friday 14 October 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in National, Politics

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‘Two countries but one people’: Cook Islands, New Zealand strengthen ties
Prime Minister Mark Brown and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta during the signing of the statement of partnership on Thursday, October 13, 2022. Picture: CALEB FOTHERINGHAM/22101314

The ties between the Cook Islands and New Zealand are stronger than ever, Prime Minister Mark Brown and New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta say.

The pair were at a special event in Rarotonga yesterday, where they signed the statement of partnership.

The partnership called “Waka Hourua/Vaka Purua” commits to working together on issues of shared interests and importance, recognising both countries’ special links, and elevating the relationship to a new level of cooperation.

“The signing of the statement of partnership reflects the next step,” Mahuta said.

“The mana of the Cook Islands has matured over a long period of time. While we share common values on a range of things, we also understand there are things that make us unique. What follows from this respect is trust.

“It provides a bit of a roadmap as to how we might go in this next period.”

Mahuta said as the world moves on from Covid-19, there needs to be an increased focus on climate change.

“Leadership in the region will be so sorely needed,” she said.

PM Brown said “we may be two countries, but we are one people”.

“It’s a relationship that all Cook Islanders value,” he said.

At the press conference, Mahuta said New Zealand has a close and enduring relationship with the Cook Islands that went beyond the “government to government”.

“It’s going to be really important to navigate as we bring our focus towards the Pacific.”

Mahuta also announced a further $5 million pandemic support for the region.