Cook Islands celebrate 50 years of independence

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

In the Pacific, today marks the 50th year of the Constitution of the Cook Islands. 

Thousands of people converged on the small island of Rarotonga including a contingent from New Zealand for the celebration of independence.

It was hard not to feel the Cook Island hospitality today.  

Te Ururoa Flavell says, "Henry Puna, the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands thanked New Zealand for its help and support of the islands. He added that we need to keep up that special relationship."

Fifty years ago, the Cook Islands elected their first Prime Minister, Albert Henry.

Today his legacy lives on.

The streets of Avarua were a sea of colour.

It's been 50 years of self-governance for the Cook Islands.

The locals of Rarotonga and the people from the outer islands hope they can continue to prosper for the next 50 years ahead.