7 Oct 2015

Cook Islands chiefs visit expats

9:05 am on 7 October 2015

For the first time since its formation almost half a century ago, the Cook Islands house of Ariki has ventured overseas to connect with its expats.

Up to 24 high chiefs from various islands belong to the parliamentary body and provide feedback on policy issues such as permanent residence and preserving traditions.

The Ui Ariki is travelling through Australia and New Zealand ahead of its 50th anniversary next year.

The clerk of the House of Ariki, Puna Rakanui, says it is the ariki responsibility to oversee the welfare of its customs and traditions regardless of where its people are located.

"There are only about 12, 13, 14 thousand people in the Cook Islands, and about 18,000 people living in New Zealand and Australia. So the core population of the Cook Islands are overseas and abroad so it's only fair that the traditional leaders reconnect with their communities."

Puna Rakanui says citizenship and immigration to the Cook Islands is the main concern for Cook Island Maori living overseas.

Cook Islands:  Puna Rakanui

Cook Islands: Puna Rakanui Photo: Daniela Maoate-Cox