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The Cook Islands High Commission was established in 1982 and was a key milestone in the evolution of the Cook Islands and New Zealand relationship, as well as a testament to the expanding nature of the Cook Islands bilateral, regional, and international persona.  


His Excellency Mr Iaveta Short                 1982 – 1997
His Excellency Dr. Jon Jonassen                1997 – 1999
His Excellency Mr Wilkie Rasmussen            2000 – 2002
His Excellency Dr. Robert Woonton            2005 (6 Months)
His Excellency Sir Thomas Davis                2005 – 2007
His Excellency Mr Tepure Tapaitau            2007 – 2010
His Excellency Mr Mike Mitchell                2010 – 2012
His Excellency Mr Tekaotiki Matapo            2012 – 2015
Her Excellency Mrs Teremoana Yala            2016 - 2018

These past High Commissioners and their respective teams have served the Cook Islands well in striving to achieve our foreign policy objectives, as well ensuring that our people in New Zealand maintain their connection to the homeland.   


The work of the Cook Islands High Commission to New Zealand is underpinned by the National Vision of the Cook Islands:

“Te ora’anga tu rangatira kia tau ki te anoano o te iti tangata, e kia tau ki ta tatou peu Maori e te aotini taporoporo o te basileia – To enjoy the highest quality of life consistent with the aspirations of our people, and in harmony with our culture and environment.”

To realise the National Vision, the High Commission takes inspiration from the Vision of Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration:

“Taku Ipukarea, Kia Rangatira - A safer and more prosperous Cook Islands through excellence in Foreign Affairs and Immigration Services”

In delivery of its work, the High Commission is guided by the Statement of Strategic Intentions of the Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration and its four inter-connected pillars that constitute strategic priorities:

  • Te Paruru Tiratiratu: Security 

    Protecting and promoting the national security of the Cook Islands.


  • Tupu’anga Ruperupe: Prosperity 

    Pursuing international opportunities to promote economic and social prosperity for the Cook Islands
    through sustainable development 

  • Rangatira Tutara: Leadership 

    Proactively contributing to domestic and international policy formulation, decision making and
    implementation to advance and protect the Cook Islands interests.

  • Tu Karape Kama’atu: Innovation

    Promoting innovative approaches to national priorities, opportunities, and challenges through
    domestic and international action.  

To contribute towards implementation of these strategic priorities, the High Commission places its emphasis on four key workstreams:

  • The unique relationship with New Zealand

    Recognising unique relationship that the Cook Islands shares with New Zealand, the High Commission will focus on diplomacy for advancing priorities for development agreed to by both partners, strengthening the relationship as equal partners in the Realm of New Zealand and advocacy for the wellbeing of Cook Islanders in New Zealand.  

  • Building relationships with other partner

    While New Zealand is the Cook Islands development partner of choice, it has also built relationships with fifty-four other countries and the European Union, thirty-four of our diplomatic partners have presence in Wellington.  The High Commission will work to strengthen relationships with these partners, as well as seek to establish diplomatic relations with new partners that share our interests. 

  • Itikianga Iti tangata – Connecting our people

    More than eighty thousand people in New Zealand identify as Cook Islanders. With such a significant number of Cook Islanders residing abroad, we do not limit our thinking of our population to only those who live within the shores of our islands, rather our population is viewed through the lens of where they are and encompass those who can be defined as the Diaspora.  The High Commission will seek to strengthen the mutual beneficial and lasting relationship between the Cook Islands and her Diaspora to engage in sustainable development for Cook Islanders by Cook Islanders.  


  • Pirianga Kopu Tangata ki te Maori o Aotearoa – Strengthening our relationship with our Maori Kopu Tangata

    In acknowledging the historic and cultural linkages between the Cook Islands and New Zealand Maori peoples, the High Commission will work to continue building cultural connections and deepening relationships between our Maori peoples in areas that are mutually beneficial to our collective Kopu Tangata.



In our work we are steered by our Values:

  • ‘Arangatu – We strive for the best outcomes for the Cook Islands and Cook Islanders 

  • ‘Akatapu – We honour and respect others

  • Vaerua taokotai – We work collaboratively to achieve results

  • Toa tumanava – We serve with courage and with cultural diplomacy


In recognition that over half of the Cook Islands population residing in New Zealand are in the Auckland region, the Cook Islands established our Consular Office there.

The Consular Office headed by the Consul General is provided oversight by the High Commissioner.  Core functions of the Office include providing information related to government, its agencies and functions in the Cook Islands; providing assistance with documentation required from the Cook Islands; providing assistance to Cook Islanders in accessing services in New Zealand; responding to immigration enquiries; enhancing the connection between the Diaspora in Auckland and the homeland; making connections between the Cook Islands and Auckland stakeholders to advance national priorities; supporting the High Commission and the Te Kauono Mana Tutara e Mana Tiaki: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration in the delivery of workstreams as directed.  

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