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PM Jacinda Ardern's first official visit to the Pacific

02 March 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Lisa Lahari-Williams and Ruci Farrell - lisa.williams@pmn.co.nz, ruci.farrell@pmn.co.nz

Preparations are underway in the Pacific to welcome New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, on her first official visit to four Island nations.

Jacinda Ardern. Photo/ NZ Labour Party.

She will lead a Pacific Mission of ministers and Pacific leaders to Tonga, Samoa, Niue and the Cook Islands.

Ardern has requested to visit some of the areas that were most affected by Cyclone Gita in Tonga and Samoa.

They will arrive in Rarotonga next week at the tail end of the whistle-stop tour.

Ardern will have a breakfast meeting with Prime Minister Henry Puna and his Cabinet and meet with traditional leaders. 

Chief Executive to the Prime Minister's Office Edwin Pittman says the visit will deepen an already close relationship. 

"Cook Island New Zealand relations have already been really close historically, we've always been very strong," he says. "There's been a strong acknowledgement from Wellington of this special relationship."

The New Zealand delegation includes National List MP Alfred Ngaro, who attended the 50th anniversary of the Cook Islands' self-governance three years ago. 

Ardern will also, alongside Puna, help officially open the Tereora National College, funded by New Zealand. 

None will be prouder than Ngaro to see Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern open the new state-of-the-art college next Wednesday.

"What that does is provide a great facility for the young people in the Cook Islands, for their education," says Ngaro. "It's something to be proud of and I'm look forward to that opening."

The delegation will leave New Zealand on Sunday and return next Friday.

Tags: politics,