New Zealand and Cook Islands announce Waka Hourua/Vaka Purua

Cook Island Prime Minister Mark Brown and New Zealand Foreign Minister

In addition to the continued COVID-19 support in the region, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown signed a new Statement of Partnership between Aotearoa New Zealand and the Cook Islands in Rarotonga today.

The Waka Hourua/Vaka Purua (Statement of Partnership) indicates a commitment for both parties to work together on issues of shared interests and importance.

“Aotearoa New Zealand and the Cook Islands share deep whakapapa connections which are bound together by Te-Moana-nui-a-Kiwa – our Blue Pacific Continent,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “This Statement emphasises shared priority areas and common goals, such as addressing climate change and strengthening resilience, enhancing our security, and ensuring a sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19.”

Prior to signing the statement Mahuta and Prime Minister Brown discussed a range of topics including climate change, COVID-19 response, and economic recovery in the Pacific.

The agreement signed today builds upon the 2001 Joint Centenary Declaration and provides an important milestone towards strengthening the region.


Waka Houra and Vaka Purua are, respectively, the Aotearoa New Zealand Māori and Cook Islands Māori terms for the traditional double-hulled canoes that used to journey between the two countries. The name symbolises the enduring links that exist between the Cook Islands and Aotearoa New Zealand, and the intention to continue to work together to navigate future challenges and opportunities.