New Zealand arrivals from Cook Islands don't have to quarantine from January 21

People arriving into New Zealand from the Cook Islands will no longer have to quarantine from January 21, the Prime Ministers of both countries have announced.

However, most Kiwis still aren't allowed to take a holiday in the Pacific paradise just yet.

The rule change does not change the criteria for entry into the Cook Islands, which remains only available for Cook Islanders and current holders of Cook Islands work and residence permits who meet Cook Islands health entry requirements - but it is said to enable access to essential services such as health.

"Following confirmation of the Cook Islands' COVID-19 free status, and the implementation of strict health and border protocols we are now in the position to resume quarantine-free travel for passengers from the Cook Islands into New Zealand," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

"Both countries continue to take a very careful approach to managing our borders and preventing the spread of COVID-19 remains our paramount concern. As such strict protocols will be in place including pre-departure health requirements and separation from other travellers at Auckland International Airport.

"New Zealand and the Cook Islands are united in our commitment to protect our communities from COVID-19."

The announcement adds that both governments are working toward resuming two-way quarantine-free travel between the two countries within the first quarter of 2021.

"We said we would take a phased approach to resuming two-way travel and will do so only once all safety protocols can be met," Ardern said.

"I welcome the support of and joint effort with the New Zealand Government to institute this safe travel corridor which will enable essential health, education, economic and social connections for the first time in many months for our people," added Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown.

People wanting to travel to Aotearoa from the Cook Islands are only eligible if they meet a set of health and travel conditions designed to eliminate the chance of their carrying COVID-19.