May 06, 2021
Cook Islands reopen after enforced rest
A Māori broadcaster now living on Rarotonga says the Cook Islands is excited about the travel bubble reopening on May 17 – but the people and the land have also had a welcomed break.
Mania Clarke-Mamanu says the islands have been Covid-free throughout the pandemic, and government wage subsidies and grants helped people weather the 70 percent fall in national income caused by putting tourism on ice.
"People were able to breathe and relax and return to trade customs like spearfishing, planting plantations. It's been really good for the islands to come together, spend time together as a family," she says.
Ms Clarke says the tourism sector is rushing to ramp up again, but there is likely to be labour shortages.
The border is closed to some countries where they have drawn workers from, and many Cook Islanders took advantage of quarantine-free travel since January to take up seasonal positions in New Zealand freezing works and orchards.
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