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MFAI Media Release: Australia Defence meet with MFAI ahead of Arrival Ceremony for Te Kukupa II and

19 July 2022

Government of the Cook Islands

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki - Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration


MFAI Media Release: Australia Defence meet with MFAI ahead of arrival ceremony for Te Kukupa II and her crew


Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Secretary, Tepaeru Herrmann, today met with a visiting delegation from Australia Defence.


Led by Catherine Bell, Director of Defence Cooperation for New Zealand, Cook Islands and Timor-Leste and accompanied by Colonel Neil Peak, non-resident Defence Attaché to the Cook Islands, the delegation is visiting Rarotonga this week to participate in the welcoming ceremony of the Guardian Class Patrol Boat – the Cook Islands Police Patrol Boat (CIPPB) Te Kukupa II and her crew who arrive Rarotonga tomorrow Wednesday 20th July.

“Discussions held today between Australia Defence and MFAI are a continuation of forward bilateral defence co-operation talks between the Cook Islands and Australia, including those held in the margins of the handover ceremony for Te Kukupa II at the HMAS Stirling in Perth last month; high level engagements between Prime Minister Brown and Prime Minister Albanese and Ministers Matt Keogh and Pat Conroy in Australia last month; and Australia’s delegation to last week’s Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting led by PM Albanese,” said Secretary Herrmann. “The Cook Islands places high value on its relationship with Australia and looks forward to deepening cooperation with Australia Defence in areas of shared interest - for the Cook Islands this includes maritime surveillance and security particularly as relates to the Northern region of the Cook Islands. Through the assistance of Australia a scoping study is currently underway to assess Penrhyn Harbor and vital infrastructure upgrades that are needed. The strategic geographic location of Penrhyn is a base for which our mostly domestic and regional maritime surveillance activities take place. The arrival of the Te Kukupa II will play an integral role in securing the Cook Islands and the Pacific regions maritime security. We also look forward to ongoing co-operation with Australia for continued capability development of Police maritime personnel".


This visit by Australia Defence follows Prime Minister and Minister for Police and Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Mark Brown’s mission to Australia last month for the official Handover Ceremony of the Te Kukupa II in Perth.


The Australia Defence delegation will also engage in meetings with Cook Islands Police, Ministry of Marine Resources and the Office of the Prime Minister.

Queries regarding this media release can be directed to Tamarua Marsters at Phone: 29347 or tamarua.marsters@cookislands.gov.ck



Picture 1: H.E Dr Chris Watkins, Australian High Commissioner to the Cook Islands; Colonel Neil Peak, Defence Attaché to the Cook Islands; Ms Catherine Bell, Director of Defence Cooperation New Zealand and Cook Islands Pacific and Timor-Leste; Mr Rob Munday, A/g Assistant Director New Zealand and Cook Islands Pacific and Timor-Leste; Mr. Tamarua Marsters, MFAI Foreign Service Officer International and Trade Division.


Picture 2: Mr. Garth Henderson, Secretary MFEM; Hon. Akaiti Puna Assistant Minister; Mr Gerald Thomson, First Assistant Secretary, Pacific Bilateral Division, DFAT; Hon. Matt Keogh, Minister for Veteran Affairs & Defence Personnel; Mrs. Daphne Brown, Hon. Mark Brown, Prime Minister; H.E Dr Chris Watkins, Australian High Commissioner to the Cook Islands; Ms. Tepaeru Herrmann, Secretary MFAI; Colonel Neil Peak, Defence Attaché to the Cook Islands.