I am wondering about the residency requirements for New Zealand. Do citizens of the Cook Islands automatically have New Zealand residency?

I know that New Zealand citizenship is not automatic and has to be applied for and meet certain criteria, but if a Cook Island's citizen wants to simply live in New Zealand without a visa and NOT be a citizen, is that automatic?

1 Answer 1


Not sure where you get that Citizenship is not automatic. According to the New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade website, our relationship is described as follows:

The Cook Islands became a New Zealand colony in 1901 but after a push for self-determination in the 1960s it became self-governing in ‘free association’ with New Zealand in 1965. This means it administers its own affairs but that Cook Islanders are New Zealand citizens who are free to live and work here. More than 60,000 Cook Island Māori live in New Zealand.

Further the Citizenship 1977 Act Section 2 (1)(b) defines New Zealand to include the Cook Islands, while section 6 of the Cook Islands Constitution Act 1964 affirms that the Cook Islands Constitutution Act does not affect the Citizenship Act of 1977.

  • Its wikipedia, so not a great legal source, but have a read of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cook_Islanders - it mirrors the legal mumbo-jumo I quoted in my answer in an easily readable form - Cook Islanders have New Zealand passports.
    – davidgo
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 20:12
  • 1
    It's worth mentioning that the opposite is not true: New Zealanders are not free to live and work on Cook Islands.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 20:46

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