Government says yes, we need Cookies to come home, or we face depopulation. But if you have a papa’a parent, and look papa’a, your reception can be less than welcoming.
And it’s the same for your papa’a spouse, and your children, even though they are Cook Islanders by blood.
This reception started for us as soon as we got off the plane to come here, when we were told we are in the wrong line at customs - “this line is for locals” by a very zealous customs officer, who refused to look at the stamp in my wife’s passport.
I must say the last time we went to New Zealand, on our return the customs officer had a much nicer approach to testing if we were in the correct line. The wife had her passport ready, with it open to her residency stamp, waiting for the affront, and all he said was “pe’ea koe?” Well, she went blank.
I was about three metres behind near the duty free, but our 11 year old piped up with “meitaki” without missing a beat, so no more questions were asked. Meitaki ma’ata.