Press Release – PM statement on QFT 11.12.2020.docx

Following a joint release earlier this morning with New Zealand Prime Minister Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister Hon Mark Brown welcomed New Zealand’s commitment for the removal of mandatory quarantine for Cook Islands arrivals into New Zealand. Both governments will confirm the timing for when removal of mandatory quarantine will take effect early next week.

Prime Minister Brown said “We welcome the commitment of New Zealand for the removal of mandatory quarantine for Cook Islands arrivals into New Zealand as a first step in a phased approach to the full resumption of two-way quarantine free travel (QFT) between our countries.

The health and wellbeing of our people remains our foremost priority, and this interim arrangement enables us to ensure that those in need of non-critical but still urgent medical treatment and those who serve in our judicial and education sectors are able to do so without the stress and cost of quarantine”.

“Socially and economically, it is vitally important that we move meticulously, but at pace, to enable our people and businesses to regain some form of normality and confidence in their lives and businesses. We are fortunate that New Zealand has all but eliminated the virus, and for this we are grateful.

“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management is now developing Phase 3 of the Economic Response Plan (ERP) to continue support to businesses and employees and I will be able to update the general public on ERP 3 towards the end of this month” he said.

Prime Minister Brown stated “In the coming weeks, Cook Islands officials will provide insights into the recent technical exchange of officials between the two countries; QFT

readiness work; and agreed further areas to be progressed such as testing capabilities, contact tracing and contingency planning and resourcing. A comprehensive communication strategy will be implemented to inform the Cook Islands community on border requirements and the Cook Islands readiness relating to health infrastructure and the industry.”

The work of officials will continue through the Christmas period with both governments working to a timeframe of the first quarter in 2021 to operationalise full two-way quarantine free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands.



Building our Cook Islands Legacy together

27 November 2020, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

MR – Building our CI legacy together

All Cook Islanders are invited to help build our Cook Islands Legacy during a national forum to develop our Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+ on Thursday.

Since the launch of the Cook Islands NSDA2020+ Consultations, Cook Islanders have taken up the challenge to help strengthen our Cook Islands legacy. 

More than sixty consultations have taken place over the last five months as Cook Islands residents have shared their thoughts on where the Cook Islands should be as a nation, and how we should get there.

The Cook Islands NSDA2020+ will be the guiding blueprint for the Cook Islands as it works towards achieving the vision of wellbeing.  The NSDA2020+ follows on from the Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Plan – Te Kaveinga Nui 2016 – 2020.

This Thursday the “Our Cook Islands Legacy NSDA2020+ Forum” will seek further input upon some of what has been collated thus far.

“We’ve been encouraged by the wide range of voices and input we have recorded over the past months as people have told us their vision for our Cook Islands,” said Ms Valentino Wichman, Director of Central Policy and Planning Office of the Office of the Prime Minister.

“Our People are at the core of our NSDA2020+, the thoughts and ideas that have been shared with us are the strands of our national document, woven together in strength, like our Cook Islands ka’a.  We look forward to more that comes.”

The Our Cook Islands Legacy NSDA2020+ Forum is just one of several more consultations to continue over early next year across Rarotonga and some of the Pa Enua.  Outcomes of consultations held to date have been shared with Te Vairanga Kite Pakari, the Cook Islands Research Association, to help develop the foundation of the NSDA2020+.

It is proposed the NSDA2020+ be ready for endorsement in April next year.

This Thursday Our Legacy Cook Islands Forum will see a range of activities take place.  The second of the Korero Mai Debate Series will take place, followed by a range of wellbeing activities for all to help build our Cook Islands legacy.

“The Forum will be a half day journey through our Cook Islands wellbeing – we are ensuring the five key aspects of wellbeing are interwoven within our Forum those being physical, intellectual, spiritual, emotional and social,” said Ms Wichman.

“We’re asking people to input into our vision, the life cycle of a Cook Islander for wellbeing and to hear their thoughts about our draft targets we have to date.   Everyone is welcome to join us and take part – bring your ideas and be ready to have an enjoyable time.”

The Our Legacy Cook Islands NSDA2020+ Forum is held on Thursday 3 December 2020 – World Disability Day, from 9am to 12pm at the Cook Islands National Auditorium Domes. 


Researching to build our Cook Islands legacy

9 November 2020, Rarotonga, Cook Islands


Contributions and discussions from almost 55 consultation sessions on the Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+ are now being reviewed by Te Vairanga Kite Pakari (TVKP) – a Cook Islands Research Association.

The Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+ (NSDA2020+) is the national blueprint that will guide the Cook Islands towards a 100-year vision of wellbeing.  It follows from the Te Kaveinga Nui 2016 – 2020. 

To ensure strong Cook Islands ownership of the NSDA2020+, a wide range of consultations have been ongoing since August.  The outcomes of these discussions are now undergoing review by TVKP to help establish the NSDA2020+.

“As much as possible, we are making sure that every voice heard is being reflected in our national document which will build our Cook Islands legacy,” said Valentino Wichman, Director of Central Policy and Planning of the Office of the Prime Minister.

“Having a national vision, framework and strategy is one thing.  Putting this into action is another, and that is what we are striving for – a robust framework and strategy which sees us all collectively owning it and working together to make it happen.  Ownership plays a key role.”

TVKP are helping to ensure the robust legacy developed is built upon the evidence which frames the issues and challenges.  To do so the research methodology used is a mix of the scanning methodology with Ka’a as the central metaphor for the process.

This will see TVKP scan and review content from the consultations, literature, media, research and other publications.   The research methodology through the Ka’a represents a united, collective approach and Papa’anga will apply this across the range of generations to form our legacy.

Once all content has been reviewed and assessed it will result in the top challenges the Cook Islands must address to achieve the vision of wellbeing.  These will be finalised in a report that will support the NSDA2020+ framework.

“Research is an important part of developing our Cook Islands legacy, for example consultations may have issues raised based upon what people know – yet research may show that these aren’t actually issues,” said Ms Wichman.

“Or research will provide the evidence to support the issues raised by people and show that they are vital for us to include and address in our NSDA2020+ for our Cook Islands wellbeing.  There is a vast amount of research to be undertaken in this next stage.”

The NSDA2020+ has undergone a wide consultation process which still continues.  If you are interested in having your voice heard please contact the CPPO Office of the OPM or visit the OPM website or CINSDA 2020+ Facebook page.  Opportunities to input and share thoughts and ideas are made available on these sites.

It is hoped the NSDA2020+ will be ready for endorsement by April 2021.  It will consist of a 100-year vision that has 25 Uki frameworks to span a generation and 5-year scorecards to help monitor and evaluate progress.

For further information or queries please visit or on Facebook, or email Ms Valentino Wichman at

Tracking progress against achieving the Cook Islands 2020 vision

28 September 2020, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Media release 4 – Tracking progress

In 2016, the Cook Islands set itself a Vision that by 2020 the Cook Islands would be enjoying the highest quality of life consistent with the aspirations of our people, and in harmony with our culture and environment.

Checking to see just how well the Cook Islands is doing in achieving this vision, is the Central Policy and Planning Office (CPPO) of the Cook Islands Office of the Prime Minister.  The team are currently reviewing data and information from different government ministries to measure our progress against 66 different indicators which act as the ‘markers’ to achieving 16 national sustainable development goals.

These are the basis of Te Kaveinga Nui, the National Sustainable Development Plan 2016 – 2020, which steers the Cook Islands towards the 2020 vision.

“We’re aiming to have our report that spans our full Te Kaveinga Nui from 2016 to 2020, ready for release next year,” said Valentino Wichman, Director of CPPO.

“To do this we’ve been working with different government ministries, sifting through information shared with us, to develop a report which tells us if we are on track, off track or have areas of concern.”

The last report developed in 2019 outlined one of the 16 goals were on track and continuing to improve, this being Goal two – to expand economic opportunities, improve economic resilience and productive employment to ensure decent work for all. 

The report also indicated three of the 16 goals were of concern and regressing, requiring attention.  These being goal seven to improve health and promote healthy lifestyles, goal nine to accelerate gender equality, empower all women and girls, and advance the fights of youth, the elderly and disabled as well as goal 13 to strengthen resilience to combat the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

“We’re interested in seeing the trends between the respective years and any implications brought by COVID 19,” said Ms Wichman.

She further elaborated that this reviewed content, will feed into the development of the new national blueprint, the Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+

“These reports, also known as our Te Kaveinga Nui indicator reports, contain a wealth of information that gives us an overview which can also guide our future work.  We’re grateful for our government ministries that provide us with a wide range of data and information so we can track our progress as a nation.”

Although Te Kaveinga Nui comes to an end in 2020, the endeavor for sustainable development continues through the NSDA2020+ which has a 100 year vision.  It will be mapped against 25 year frameworks, with five-year strategies to measure advancement.

Consultations have been underway since August, to gather viewpoints and ideas as to how the Cook Islands can achieve a 100 year vision of wellbeing, all of which will result in the NSDA020+.  To date over 35 consultations have taken place with members of government ministries and state owned enterprises, Cook Islands Non-Governmental Organisations and the Pa Enua.  Consultations are continuing and will soon branch to the private sector, Cook Islanders in New Zealand and Australia, as well as publicly on Rarotonga through the three Vaka.

“This will be a Cook Islands-owned chart upon which we can map our progress towards wellbeing, as such we want to make sure that as many people are heard, so our journey ahead together is as one nation,” said Ms Wichman.

People are also welcome to share their submissions through the website, the ‘To’ou Reo’ page is an interactive one which asks for your thoughts and ideas on several issues.  Content received through this page is also collated and prepared for researchers to develop key aspects of the NSDA2020+

To learn more about Te Kaveinga Nui and our progress please visit our scorecard at:

For further information please contact Ms Valentino Wichman at


Our Cook Islands national blueprint, our voices

7 September 2020, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Media release 3 – Our Cook Islands National blueprint

Over 20 Cook Islands agencies have since shared their views to help guide our Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+.
Since launch of the consultation phase on 31 July, twenty-four Cook Islands agencies have met with the Central Policy and Planning office (CPPO) of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), sharing their views on well-being, their visions for the Cook Islands and how we could get there.
The Cook Islands is currently developing the national 100-year blueprint to be endorsed next year. This will extend on from the current Cook Islands National Development Plan 2016 – 2020 and will span four generations with 25-year frameworks that are monitored against 5-year implementation plans.
“We’ve had some really interesting discussions over the past month, there are many different voices so we’ve had a wide range of thoughts and input, as well as collective themes come through,” said Valentino Wichman, Director of CPPO of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
“The development of our NSDA2020+ has come at the right time, the impacts of COVID-19 have seen us all have to pause and reset, allow us time to rethink everything, before we build back our future. The input from many we have spoken to reflects this.”
Teams from ten government ministries, ten crown agencies, two NGO’s and two state owned enterprises have all shared their input. The OPM -NSDA2020+ government webpage also has an interactive component which allows for people to input their viewpoints on key issues, and a Facebook page growing in popularity has also been a platform to receive views from Cook Islanders.
“The more feedback and voices we hear, the better we can develop a plan that reflects our collective aspirations. The more we are told by you, the more we are able to ensure that this is a 100-year vision that we all own together, and implement together,” said Ms Wichman.
Still to meet with ten more government agencies, the CPPO consultations will then focus on the non-government Organisations and private sector together with the Pa Enua as well as the three vaka on Rarotonga.
Another large component of the NSDA2020+ development is the research phase. This helps ensure the consultations, literature review and evidence, will be guided by a methodology for a well-developed national blueprint. The NSDA2020+ research committee are now in the process of procuring support for this.
“Our framework is one we are calling ‘Akapapaa’anga in reflection of our nationally owned plan – we are applying this as the cornerstone of our Cook Islands society. Through this research we will be able to identify any new issues that may obstruct the wellbeing of our people. It will help better shape the frameworks and scorecards in the future,” said Ms Wichman.
The goal is for the draft NSDA2020+ report to be presented in December for further input before submitted for endorsement in April next year.
Should you wish to know more about the Cook Islands NSDA2020+ please visit or email


By Office of the Prime Minister

31 July 2020, Rarotonga, Cook Islands The consultation phase for the Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+ was launched on Friday. Known as NSDA2020+ or Te Ara Akapapa’anga Nui 2020+, this is the Cook Islands blueprint towards a 100-year vision of well-being for the Cook Islands in all aspects. The launch is calling upon…

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