Coronavirus: Cook Islands' tourism economy facing blow from New Zealand's outbreak

The Cook Islands is on target for full vaccination from COVID-19 - but its recovering tourism economy is facing another blow from New Zealand's Delta outbreak.

The latest figures from Te Marae Ora Cook Islands Ministry of Health show 96 percent of those eligible for vaccination have been vaccinated.

The Cook Islands Aotearoa Society chairman Derek Fox says their attention is now turning to vaccinating the younger population aged 16 years and up.

"Well, the Cook Islands population, they know they're pretty vulnerable and could be vulnerable," he tells The Hui.

Although the vaccinations are a success, Fox still sees complacency among locals.

"There are people who are just as slack as we are here who don't log in and...don't sign in."

However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant in Aotearoa has seen the Cook Islands travel bubble close.

Fox says during the travel bubble period the Cook Islands managed to reach 60 percent of its normal tourist numbers.

"It was very big for the Cooks, having had probably about 15 months of real pain in not having tourists," he says.

"And this is a typical case of when you have maybe all of your eggs in one basket or most of your eggs in one basket, you can get into trouble."

Although the economy suffered, locals did enjoy having the islands back to themselves.

"That made people quite self-resilient - some people actually enjoyed it."

One initiative which took off during this time was a government seed project kick-started by the Cook Islands Ministry of Agriculture.

Locals were given free seeds to grow food to help support livelihood and provide kai for the community.

Fox believes it's an initiative that could grow in popularity here in Aotearoa.

"There were other people who went fishing and so they would come back and they'd have fish and they'd trade fish for, you know, for vegetables and fruits and so on."

Made with support from Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air.

Coronavirus: Cook Islands' tourism economy facing blow from New Zealand's outbreak