3rd August 2022
Government of the Cook Islands
Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki - Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration
Fiji passport and citizenship processing services available in Rarotonga this week
The Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) have partnered with Fiji’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Fiji’s Immigration Department to support delivery of Fiji passport and citizenship processing services in Rarotonga this week.
It’s been a busy week for Fiji Immigration Senior Official Mr Leslie L. Cama who travelled to Rarotonga from Suva to deliver Fiji passport and citizenship processing services as part of focused efforts by both governments to deepen relations, expand economic cooperation and strengthen people to people ties.
“After more than two years of closed borders and the continued high cost of international travel, MFAI, together with Fiji MFA and Fiji Immigration Department are pleased to have been able to respond positively to strong advocacy from our Cook Islands Fiji Association (CIFA) via President Roana Mataitini and the CIFA Executives for Fiji passport and citizenship processing services to be delivered in Rarotonga,” said Secretary of MFAI Ms. Tepaeru Herrmann. “I wish to acknowledge the support of Fiji MFA Deputy Secretary Mr. Esala Nayasi who has also been in country this week for his positive response to our request and further support towards regularizing future in-country passport and citizenship processing service delivery by Fiji Immigration in the Cook Islands. Such government to government; community and private sector collaboration delivers multiple benefits for the economies and societies of the Cook Islands and Fiji.”
See Cook Islands Television Local News coverage at https://www.facebook.com/cookislandstelevisionnews/videos/451228640202116
The Cook Islands is currently home to more than 800 Fiji nationals, with most working and residing on Rarotonga, and a proportion taking up work and residence in the Pa Enua, in particular Aitutaki. Ensuring current and valid identity documentation for Fiji nationals working and residing in the Cook Islands in a timely and affordable manner is a shared aspiration of both governments with plans afoot for further support in the coming months.
Through MFAI, the Cook Islands established a diplomatic mission in Suva in the first quarter of 2020 with the mission officially jointly opened by both Prime Ministers the Hon. Mark Brown and the Hon. Josaia Voreqe Banimarama on 6 June this year. Headed by High Commissioner Jim Armistead, the Cook Islands High Commission in Suva has a focused mandate to expand bilateral economic cooperation with Fiji and strengthen people to people ties. In particular, the mission is tasked with facilitating growth of bilateral trade with Fiji; supporting Cook Islands inwards workforce recruitment; and supporting the establishment of direct flight links between the Cook Islands and Fiji.
On the 15 July 2022, some 60 Fiji citizens were embraced officially into Cook Islands community and society as part of 237 nationals of various countries awarded Cook Islands Permanent Residents (PR). These new recipients of PR join an exclusive 2000 who have received PR since 1965, most of whom have made the Cook Islands their permanent home and raised children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in the Cook Islands. See MFAI website media release https://mfai.gov.ck/news-updates/ceremony-welcomes-new-cook-islands-permanent-residents
“The Cook Islands is a people predominantly resident abroad – with a global population of more than 100,000 – some 16,000 of whom reside in the Cook Islands,” said Secretary Herrmann. “As a people, we Cook Islanders have a deep appreciation the contribution our diaspora make to the societies and countries they have made home beyond the Cook Islands and are grateful to the societies and countries that have embraced our people living abroad. In the same way, we embrace our Fijian community who not only contribute to our economic prosperity but contribute to enriching the cultural and social fabric of Cook Islands society. We have requested the Fiji government consider elevated diplomatic representation to the Cook Islands, preferably in the Cook Islands, and look forward to continuing to work closely with Fiji MFA to bring those aspirations to fruition in the near future.”
Fiji nationals who haven’t yet called on Fiji Immigration Officer Mr Cama at MFAI Offices in Avarua are encouraged to do so with final processing day on Thursday 4 August, Cook Islands Constitution Day before Mr Cama returns to Suva. MFAI offices will be open on the 4 August, between 9.30am and 3.30pm for Mr Cama to receive any final applications.
Enquires related to this release can be directed to Tatryanna.Utanga@cookislands.gov.ck
Enquiries for the Cook Islands High Commission in Suva can be directed to Jim.Armistead@cookislands.gov.ck
1 – 1 August 2022 - Fiji Senior Immigration Officer Leslie Cama processing passport applications at MFAI Offices in Avarua;
2 – 28 – June 2022 L-R: Roana Mataitini, Cook Islands Fiji Association (CIFA) President; Tepaeru Herrmann, Secretary MFAI; Sane Cowan, CIFA Secretary; and Ewan Cameron, MFAI Foreign Service Officer Pacific and Regional Affairs Division;
3 – 29 July 2022 - from middle to right: Hon. Mark Brown, Prime Minister and Minister MFAI; Esala Nayasi, Deputy Secretary Fiji Foreign Affairs and Tepaeru Herrmann, Secretary MFAI