February 8, 2024 - Avarua, Cook Islands: The one-day visit to Rarotonga, by New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Winston Peters saw the two governments reaffirm economic resilience, health, and security as ongoing priorities for their forward bilateral co-operation.
The visit, coinciding with Waitangi Day, was marked by a reception hosted by New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands H.E Tui Dewes, and attended by representatives of Cook Islands and New Zealand traditional and church leaders, public and private sector representatives, and media.
Cook Islands Prime Minister Hon. Mark Brown hosted bilateral discussions in Cabinet in the morning, where the two exchanged views on economic and climatic resilience, health co-operation, seabed minerals development, membership of the IMF and the United Nations, defence and security cooperation and Pacific regional matters.
At its core, the visit reaffirmed the commitment to action by both governments to the shared aspirations articulated in the "Waka Hourua/Vaka Purua" partnership signed in 2022.
The aspirations of the Cook Islands as relate to its forward partnership with New Zealand were re-articulated by the Prime Minister during his remarks delivered at the Ngatipa reception and can be found at https://mfai.gov.ck/important-resources
DPM Peters was accompanied on this mission by the Hon. Shane Reti, New Zealand Minister of Health, and Minister for Pacific peoples. Minister Reti was hosted on a tour of Rarotonga hospital by Associate Minister Hon. Tehani Brown where he was also able to interact with Cook Islands health practitioners.
“This early visit by senior members of this New Zealand government is affirmation of New Zealand’s steadfast commitment to our relationship, one which we the Cook Islands greatly value,” said Prime Minister Brown. “I was encouraged by our discussions with DPM Peters and Minister Reti and look forward to advancing those shared aspirations in the coming months towards the Joint Ministerial Forum later this year. Next year marks the Cook Islands 60th anniversary of self-governing in free association with New Zealand and we look forward to working closely with this government to not only celebrate the many areas of successful partnership but to also charting expanded and new ways of co-operation that will benefit the people of the Cook Islands and New Zealand.”
Senior officials of both governments respective Ministry’s of Foreign Affairs will progress preparations towards the JMF to be hosted by New Zealand later this year.
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