National Programmes

Renewable Energy

Energy needs throughout the Cook Islands have been met by long-established distribution systems supplied by diesel-generated electricity on Rarotonga and the Pa Enua.The introduction of alternative energy sources such as the utilisation of solar and wind-powered systems has been minimal and isolated, over past years.Domestic users at community level have not had the benefit of large scale investment funds to explore and establish renewable energy systems for self-sufficiency or integration with the established distribution network.The business community has also reflected similar constraints, despite considerable economic growth within the private sector since the late 1990s.

As a result of the dependence on imported fossil fuels, the country as a whole has struggled with a range of constraints, including the impacts of global trends and crises influencing the supply and price of fuel; the debilitating logistical demands and costs associated with shipping and transportation to the Pa Enua of bulk fuel; and the limited scope in the relevant policy and regulatory framework for improving national energy security. The growth of the Cook Islands economy has been and continues to be largely dependent upon fossil fuels as its energy source. This leaves it exposed to the environment, social and economic effects.

The shift in Government policy towards renewable energy not only re-confirms energy as a fundamental prerequisite to sustainable development but also: strengthens Government’s commitment to meeting it’s climate change obligations; preserving the country’s pristine environment and fragile ecosystems, enabling private sector job creation, and strengthening energy security.

The increased use of renewable energy in the Cook Islands will reduce the precarious reliance on importing diesel for electricity generation.

The Cook Islands Renewable Energy Chart (CIREC) espouses the goal, objectives, principles and pillars of this policy shift and was approved in 2012 along with an implementation plan. The implementation plan indicates the means and methods towards achieving the goal established by the Government. It will serve as the guiding document from which the transformation of the country to renewable energy will be implemented. Periodically, the plan will be updated to reflect current movements/progress and changes. Together with this capital initiatives budget, they provide a framework for sector support to a national renewable energy programme.

Investment plans currently focus on designing and installing mini-grid solar electric systems in the pa Enua, starting from the North and moving South. Works will be coordinated with previous renewable energy implementation plans which propose and address energy efficiency by upgrading back-up generators to low consumption machines. Development partners include Japan ($4.5 million), New Zealand and Australia ($11.5 million), UNDP, SPREP, SIDS-DOCK. In addition, a significant investment programme is envisaged to transform Te Aponga Uira into a new distribution and power system manager. Private investment, particularly on Rarotonga and Aitutaki is anticipated to be a major lever contributing to the medium term goal of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020. The Program is managed by the Renewable Energy Dvision of the Prime Minister Office which includes an Energy Commissioner.

After a successful partnership between the Cook Island and New Zealand Governments the renewables program in the Northern Group islands is completed and focus had moved to a renewable energy project for the Southern Group Islands of Mitiaro, Mauke, Mangaia, Aitu, Aitutaki and Rarotonga.

Read more ...

Education Sector Partnership

The Education Sector Partnership arrangement, funded through the New Zealand and Australia Harmonised Program includes primary, secondary and tertiary activities, short term training awards and school refurbishments.

In July 2012 a new Grant Funding Arrangement was signed between the Governments of New Zealand and the Cook Islands for funding of up to $9.525 million for the three years 2012 to 2015. It is assumed that this funding stream will continue after this date at the same rate.

More information on the activities funded by this sector level funding arrangement, including evaluations, can be found on the Ministry of Education website.


Water and Sanitation Programmes

Water and Sanitation Programmes are ongoing development within the Cook Islands. Below are the ongoing programmes happening in the Cook Islands.


Water and Sanitation Programme

Related Programmes

RTEmagicC wwd14 ban2 468x60 jpg

Cook Islands Tourism - Destination Development Initiative

Destination Development initiatives are designed to enhance the Cook Islands Tourism product with a primary focus on event development and tourism related infrastructure. Destination Development will also encourage tourism related educational, hospitality, environmental and cultural initiatives.

The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation Destination Development Committee seeks expressions of interest from interested parties to submit proposals to the following areas:

  • Event Development
  • Tourism Related Infrastructure
  • Tourism Education and Training

Proposals will be assessed where applicable on the strength of a business and project delivery / management plan. Emphasis is placed on a projects return on investment (ROI) calculated by increased visitor arrivals, improved length of stay and increased related spend, and enhanced and expanded visitor experiences. Proposals will be further assessed by their appeal, engagement of the community, partner resourcing, delivery team expertise and experience, and future sustainability.

It is also imperative that these proposals tie in with existing Cook Islands Tourism marketing strategies.

The Destination Development Strategy and related initiatives are supported by Tranche 2 of Tourism Sector Support from NZAID.

For copies of the following documents:

  • Cook Islands Destination Development Strategy
  • Expression of Interest Guide - Event Development
  • Expression of Interest Guide - Tourism Related Infrastructure
  • Expression of Interest Guide - Tourism Education and Training
  • Submission Template

Please see Cook Islands Tourism Destination Development Initiative website or contact

Metua Vaiimene
Director of Destination Development
Cook Islands Tourism Corporation

Community Initiatives Scheme

Community Initiatives Scheme (CIS) has been making a positive difference to our communities since 2004 and has implemented numerous community based programmes contributing to our economic and social growth.

As this is the last round of the programme (further funding may be available under Social Impact Fund from July 2012), we have only one funding round which closed on Saturday 31 March 2012.  Late applications unfortunately will not be accepted.


·Domestic violence


·Gender and Development Initiatives

·Income generating project

·Mental health

·Organisational strengthening project

·Reproductive Health



Find listed below CIS Board Members and the organisation they represent in being part of the CIS Board.


Name Organisation
Lydia Sijp    CISNOC
Shona Pitt     Mount View Lodges
Tai Joseph    Ministry of Justice
Tepaeru Hagai    CIIC
Trish Barton    The Bond Store
Ngatuaine Maui    INTAFF
Jim Armistead    Development Coordination Division
Danica Waiti    NZHComm


To meet the eligibility criteria, projects will need to be completed by no later than 30 June 2012.  The CIS Board will consider funding small infrastructure and one-off events or programmes which can be completed prior to 30 June 2012.  Successful projects can receive between $5,000 and up to a maximum of $50,000.


For further information and application packs please contact:

Community Initiatives Scheme

Ministry of Finance and Economic Management

Development Coordination Division

(located top floor Foreign Affairs & Immigration Building)

Phone (682) 29521

P.O. Box 120





Cook Islands National Youth Council (CINYC) Strenthening support networks for young people  Ms Nukutau Pokura - President/Edward Parker - Assistant Treasurer Connecting CI to a regional helpline service


Cook Islands National Youth Council (CINYC) Realising Youth Potential: Connection Youth, Families and our Communities Ms Nukutau Pokura - President Promoting resilience and well-being and to develop a multi-sectoral national action plan/framework in response to youth suicide


Cook Islands Library & Museum Society Inc "A Dictionary of the Maori Language of Rarotonga" Reprint Jean Mason/Moana Moeka'a. Reprinting of this out-of-print well sought after dictionary.


Ui Rangatira o Pa Ariki Takitumu Night Market Sam Napa Jnr Regular night market for Ngatangiia.


Rotaianga Men's Support Center Incorporated Society Organisational Strengthening Project  Patrick Lynch Operational expenses.


Coconut oil mamas Mauke Coconut Oil Glass Bottle & 2 Coconut Graters    Ms Eimoana Taia    Enable the mamas (and wider community) to make oil    Island secretary


Moeau Occupational and Elderly Care Services Resourcing Moeau Occupational Therapy and Elderly Care services Donna Smith/June Hosking    Purchase training equipment and resources towards setting up and providing education on this.


Rutaki Vainetini Community Education Programme on Domestic Violence Ngara Katuke Educate members of the community to reduce domestic violence.


Aitutaki Conservation Trust Keep Aitutaki Clean Mike Lee/Trina Purchase and install secure bins and educational material


Te Ipukarea Society Developing litter consciousness amongst young children in the Cook islands Jacqueline Evans/ Ana Tiraa. To facilitate the participatory development of methods to make children (5 - 7) throughout the Cook islands conscious of littering.


Pukapuka Combined Youth Pukapuka Vaka Programme Beniamina William/ Ruarau Iakoba/Romani (Raro based) To bring back the building and racing of vaka as a traditional cultural sport in Pukapuka.


Arorangi Horizon Vocals Music Group Make a difference in Children & Youth through music classes focusing on reducing crime activities in Arorangi Teariki Monga Maeva/ Ken Mataroa  To offer an opportunity for children and youth in the village to build a sense of character through music.


The Cook Islands Civil Society Organizations (CICSO) - CICSO Village Consultation Ngara Katuke/ Ake Lewis To engage all NGO leaders in the community, sports, schools, dance teams, church, business sectors, government and traditional leaders in a village consultation.


Sailing Cook Islands Sailing in Schools Program Support, Youth and Women Development Strategy - Teachers and pupils. Anne Tierney/ Rory Quirke To assist SCI build sustainable support services to our Sailing in Schools Program.

Budget Support - European Union Programme

EuropeAid leading the way to higher order modailites in the Cook Islands.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the European Union countries is consolidated by the European Commission and provided to the Cook Islands in a bi-lateral program managed by EuropeAid officials based in Fiji. Europe’s ODA is overseen by the European Parliament which votes budgets into Funds (e.g. Economic Development Fund, Water Fund, etc) and contributions to development organisations such as the United Nations Specialised Agencies.

In 2014, the CI expects to receive the first tranche of budget support from the EU. Paid directly to the CI government's treasury this will be allocated using the Cook Islands governments’ budget process. This modality is called General Budget Support. In order to justify this approach the Cook Islands undertook a Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) to assess the performance of the Cook Islands Financial Management Systems.

New Zealand & Australia Harmonised Programme

A Joint Commitment for Development between the Governments of the Cook Islands and New Zealand establishes a shared vision for working in partnership to achieve long-term development outcomes for the people of the Cook Islands, including achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This informs the Cook Islands – New Zealand – Australia Harmonised Aid Programme.

Joint Harmonised Annual Programme Review Jan 2012 to Dec 2013 outlines progress against the New Zealand and Australian joint program for bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The New Zealand government employs staff at its High Commission office in Rarotonga who act as a point of contact for Cook Islands officials and partners to discuss matters related to the planning, administration and evaluation of activities funded. The NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade keeps a web page with basic Cook Islands program information.

The Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Commission (NSDC) considers proposals and makes recommendations on the program direction to cabinet, who make final decisions. These decisions are made in light of negotiations which include high level discussions with Government officials and regular meetings between Ministers from both governments.

NZ commits funds on a 3-year cycle linked to its Parliamentary budget cycle. Funds are spent by NZ partners or paid over in bulk to the CI Ministry of Finance and Economic Management who disburses these to public and private partners of the program according to mutually agreed arrangements. The form of these arrangements includes projects (e.g. Mauke Harbour), sector support (e.g. Education and Tourism) and a range of other modalities like contestable grant funds (e.g. CITAF, SIF). All funds are reported in the Cook Islands Government's financial statements and budget process and are subject to the rules and regulations which govern the use of Cook Islands public funds.

The New Zealand government also reports on the aid programme funds to its parliament through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Annual Report under the Vote Official Development Assistance.

Useful documents available include:

Joint Commitment for Development

Forward Aid Plan

The FAP is a document used to plan allocation of funds over the coming 3 year period.

Evaluations & Reviews

Concept Notes and Activity Design Documents