Australian High Commission in Rarotonga
Kia Orana and welcome to the official website of the Australian High Commission in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands.
Australia has had diplomatic relations with Cook Islands since 1994, but our shared heritage is much older. Australians and Cook Islanders served side by side in both World Wars and in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands. We have deep ties founded in shared membership of international organisations, a large diaspora in Australia (more than 27,500 Cook Islanders call Australia home) and a shared belief in democracy and the rule of law.
Our High Commissioner in Cook Islands is Ms Phoebe Smith.
Australia's cooperation with the Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a key partner for Australia in the region. Our ministers regularly consult each other on issues of shared interest, and our senior officials meet annually to identify new ways to cooperate on shared challenges.
Australia supports a strong and unified Pacific family and the important role of Pacific-led regional organisations, particularly the Pacific Islands Forum. Australia is supporting Cook Islands’ term as Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, including providing financial support for Cook Islands to host the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in November 2023.
On security, Australia helps the Cook Islands to secure its huge maritime territory through the provision of a Patrol Boat and associated support. We cooperate in the Forum Fisheries Association where Australia provides aerial surveillance, and we offer sustained assistance to the Cook Islands Police Service in the form of equipment and training.
On the economy, we are working together towards closer economic integration as signatories to the PACER Plus treaty. At the Cook Islands' request, Australia has funded an embedded advisor in the Seabed Minerals Authority to help build its capacity to regulate the nascent seabed minerals industry and ensure Cook Islanders benefit from a safe and well-regulated approach to its mineral wealth. During the early days of the COVID economic crisis, the Cook Islands asked if an Australian economist from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade could work with the Ministry of Finance to help inform the Cook Islands Emergency Response Plan. That support has led to valuable insights in both directions as we have worked our way through this difficult period for the regional economy.
The Cook Islands has graduated from Official Development Assistance (ODA – aid) eligibility, but Australia has provided an AUD 8 million package of funding over the period 2020-2024 which funds diverse programs, including work towards eradicating dengue fever in Rarotonga, planning for the rejuvenation of the wharf on Penrhyn Island and advancing marine research in the famous Aitutaki lagoon.
On a smaller scale, the Australian High Commission runs a Community Grants Program which funds community groups undertaking grassroots projects. The Creative Centre in Rarotonga (which offers services for Rarotongans with disability), a Manihiki Climate resilience project and a fitness and health centre in Mitiaro are among the recent recipients of these grants.
Need information on visiting Rarotonga? Read the following:
- Travel advice from the Australian Government
Smartraveller has the latest, authoritative travel advice so you can be informed and prepared about overseas travel. Subscribe to receive travel advice updates - by simply supplying your name and email address – straight to your inbox.
You can now also subscribe to the new SMS service - by supplying your mobile number – to receive critical alerts in the event of a crisis overseas.
In a crisis, Smartraveller will activate a crisis page on its website. It will make it easier for you or someone you know to contact the Australian Government if you need help. It will supplement the consular emergency hotline.
Visit www.smartraveller.gov.au to subscribe or connect with Smartraveller on Facebook and Twitter.
If you need immediate assistance, you can call the Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas or 1300 555 135 from within Australia.
Has your passport been lost or stolen in Cook Islands?
- Report the loss or theft online
- Call the Australian Passport Information Service on 131 232 from within Australia.
- Seek more information on the Australian Passports Office website.
- In an emergency the Australian High Commission in Rarotonga may be able to assist in providing a Provisional Travel Document.
Applying for a passport?
- The Australian High Commission in Rarotonga does not issue or renew passports. Passports can be renewed at our consulate in Auckland. From time to time, we organise a passports team to visit Rarotonga, if you would like to register for a passport interview during that visit, please get in touch at [email protected]
- For general information on applying for a passport or renewing your current or expired passport, visit www.passports.gov.au.
The Australian High Commission in Rarotonga does not provide notarial services.
Australian Passport Offices in Sydney or Melbourne can legalise (Apostille/Authenticate) some Australian documents and can issue Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI). Information on how to request these services via mail can be found in the ‘Documents in Australia’ section on the Smartraveller website.
Living in Australia
Voting in the 2023 Referendum
On 14 October 2023, Australians will be asked to vote in a referendum to alter the Constitution.
All eligible Australians living in or visiting Cook Islands will be able to vote.
To be eligible to vote, you must be enrolled. Please ensure that your enrolment details are up to date at the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) website.
In-person voting will be held at the Returned Services Association in Avarua, Rarotonga (across the road from the International Airport) on Tuesday 10 October between 10:00am and 2:00pm.
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