Within three months of making that decision we landed at Rarotonga Airport.
We moved into the old family home and began our easy going life in Paradise (so I thought).
First, I had a hard time with Immigration. I handed my passport and other documents over and said we have come back to live. The person tending me looked at me and said: “who said?”
From that point of time I knew it was not going to be easy for me. Over the years Immigration kept telling me to get my permanent residence (PR). When I did get it I was told you are now a Cook Islander – great, I am now able to live here for life without being told to toe the line or get out.
As I will be turning 60 at the end of May, I went to Internal Affairs to register for the pension. I handed over my passport and my PR certificate and was asked how long had I been here. I replied nearly eight years. “Sorry you have to be here 20 years before you get the pension.” What a shock that was – I have to work until I am 72 before I get the CI pension. My wife has made it clear that she will not go back to NZ for another three years for me to get the NZ pension.
So what good is my PR if I am not classed as a CI – I might as well cut it up! So what do I do – leave my wife and family go back to NZ for a further three years and wait a further two years to get my pension or work until I reach 72 before i can retire on the CI pension? Whichever way I lose out.
(Name and address supplied)