15 Jul 2011

NZ to help revitalise Cooks black pearl industry

5:07 pm on 15 July 2011

The pearl industry in the Cook Islands is getting a boost from the New Zealand government over the next three years.

The foreign minister Murray McCully says black pearls contributed 15 million US dollars to the economy annually at the industry's peak ten years ago.

Mr McCully is in the Cook Islands as part of the 2011 Pacific Mission.

He says two and a half million US dollars from the NZ Aid Programme will be aimed at developing sustainable farming practices and increasing income for those involved in the black pearl sector.

He says he hopes revitalising the industry will have flow-on benefits for outer island communities where employment and livelihood opportunities are limited.