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Cook Islands: Resident Applicants Must Speak Maori

3rd November 2009

A condition that to be eligible for permanent residency, applicants must be able to speak conversational Maori has been approved by Cabinet.

Submitted by DPM and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Sir Terepai Maoate, the condition states for any foreigner to be eligible for permanent residency he/she must be able to speak and understand basic (conversational) Maori.

Sir Terepai said advancing this has been long overdue and the condition falls in line with the recommendations of the 2003 Immigration Advisory Committee (IAC) and the draft National Immigration Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.

Included in the Policy is that “exceptional circumstances” can be applied to some PR applications as approved by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.

“This initiative also supports our aspiration as a nation to preserve Te Reo Kuki Airani and people can demonstrate their commitment to our country and people by learning our language,” said Sir Terepai.

“I am sure our people will support this initiative.”

IAC further recommended that all applicants for permanent residency pass a language test of proficiency in Cook Islands Maori.

IAC stated that “there is merit in making provision for a language test and this is consistent with preserving Cook Islands culture and norms. This is also consistent with the requirement in both New Zealand and Australia for applicants to meet a standard of English language before they can acquire permanent residency or citizenship.”


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