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[Media Release - MFAI] Managed Returns Update

12 November 2021



Government of the Cook Islands

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration


Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration have received over 500 expressions of interest to take advantage of Cook Islands Government Managed Returns flights from Auckland on Friday 19 November 2021 and Friday 3 December 2021.


All of the registered have been informed of the documentation required to complete their application for managed return flight home. MFAI’s Managed Returns team is currently evaluating these applications against the publicised eligibility and prioritisation criteria. It is expected that those who qualify will receive their ‘Approval to Travel’ exemption: - By 12 November 21 for the first flight; and - By 26 November 2021 for the second flight.


Once they receive the ‘Approval to Travel’, they can then proceed to confirm their flight bookings with Air New Zealand. After a joint Ministry review, the Cook Islands Government has decided to set the MIQ charge to be paid by those returning, at $300.00 per individual over 5 years old. Exemptions from payment remain for students/Health referrals and 1 caregiver. “This will allow for as many of our people to return home before Christmas without being burdened with costs of being in MIQ”, Prime Minister Mark Brown said.


The Cook Islands Government has also increased the number of passengers travelling from 150 to up to 200 for each flight having confirmed MIQ space availability.


What you need to know:

1. All intended travellers are required to self-isolate in their home (as much as possible) for the 10 days prior to their departure date.

2. Te Marae Ora advises that all passengers from birth+ are required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the departure date (Tuesday,16th of November 2021 for Nov 19 flight and 30 November 2021 for the 2nd Flight). (Any queries regarding this test are to be directed to Te Marae Ora at tmoexemptions@cookislands.gov.ck)

3. Evidence of a negative result will need to be provided prior to check in for your flight. No test result means that you will be unable to travel.

4. The Te Marae Ora Online Contact Information form will need to be completed within 72 hours of your travel date.

5. MIQ upon arrival to Rarotonga for 10 days including COVID-19 testing on Day 0, Day 5 and Day 9.

6. There are no vaccination restrictions being imposed on those travelling on these 2 flights, however, vaccination is highly recommended.


Managed Isolation/Quarantine (MIQ)

1. MIQ is subsidized by Government.

2. Only returning secondary and tertiary students, medical referral patients and their immediate caregiver normally resident in the Cook Islands are exempt from MIQ costs.

3. All other intending travelers who meet eligible criteria for managed returns for the 18th November and 2nd of December 2021, will be charged a flat rate of $300 per person regardless of travelling as an individual or as a group. Any children 5 years and under travelling with their parent or guardian are excluded from paying this fee.


This amendment was adopted to minimize administration, improve efficiency and reduce financial burdens on returning Cook Islanders.

Protocol for booking Air New Zealand airline ticket You must have an “approval to travel letter” to purchase a ticket on these flights:

- To purchase a ticket please contact the Rarotonga Travel centre on email: rarotongatravelcentre@airnz.co.nz and attach your “approval to travel letter

- Customers with existing credits or bookings must provide either ticket numbers or a booking reference.

- Preferably all bookings must be ticketed/paid 72 hours before day of travel

- Tickets cannot only be purchased or changed with the Air NZ Rarotonga Travel centre-you cannot purchase a ticket online.

- Phone number for the Rarotonga travel centre is 00 682 26300


The Managed Returns team will continue to work through the process to assist and assess all registrants, but we remind applicants that it is their responsibility to comply with the guidelines, and we encourage all to submit their complete information in a timely manner. Registration for both managed return flights have closed today .


All queries can be sent to ManagedReturns@cookislands.gov.ck


ENDS