Tears of Joy and appreciation mingled with the fragrance of maire and ei kakara as the Cook Islands welcomed 237 people from various countries around the world as Permanent residents of the Cook Islands at the Are Karioi Nui in Maraerenga this morning..
Prime Minister Mark Brown in his welcome remarks advised the recipients that they join an exclusive group of just under 2000 PR recipients who have received this award since 1965. Most whom have made the Cook Islands their permanent home and raised children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in the Cook Islands he said. “This award today comes with responsibility. Your responsibility to uphold and honour the social and cultural obligations of our Cook Islands way of life, our family and community relationships, respect for each other and those around us”.
Caroline Areai, from the Federated States of Micronesia who travelled for love to the Cook Islands 21 years ago, in her vote of thanks on behalf of the PR recipients said “To the people of the Cook Islands, thank you for welcoming and embracing us. It is my prayer that we will continue to grow together as people and as a nation in peace and harmony into the future.”
Keynote speaker for the morning Mr Des Eggelton, entertained the crowd with tales of how he received his PR in 1985 and almost 40 years later, he continues to treasure this privilege and distinction that the Cook Islands has given him.
The recipients recited the Oath of Allegiance to the Cook Islands in the presence of His Excellency Sir Tom Marsters, Queens Representative and received their Permanent Resident certificate from the Honourable Mark Brown, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
Arrangements are being made for those recipients from the Outer Islands who were not able to travel to Rarotonga due to transportation requirements to recite the Oath over zoom with the QR next week. We hope to include their family and community in this occasion through working with their Island councils and Administration.
The total number of Permanent Resident recipients are made up of nationals from Australia (7), Canada (3) Croatia (1), Czech Republic (1), Federated States of Micronesia (1), Fiji (60) France (8) Germany (3), Indonesia (1) Japan (1), Kiribati (6) Netherlands (1), New Zealand (90), Phillipines (33), Samoa (7) Solomon Islands (2), Switzerland (1) Tonga (4), United Kingdom (6) United States of America (6) and Vanuatu (3). These number include those who were approved but are overseas at the time of this ceremony.
The names of those who have been approved PR can be found on the MFAI website www.mfai.gov.ck. All queries to this press release can be submitted to [email protected]