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Thread: Teaching/Living in the Cook Islands

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Teaching/Living in the Cook Islands

    I have a few questions regarding the prospects of going to the Cook Islands (CI) to work as a teacher:

    * Does holding NZ PR entitle one to live/work in the CI? From what I've read, the CI is part of NZ, or sort of, or whatever...I'm not quite sure. When you live/work in the CI, are you considered to be living/working in NZ? Does anybody have the straight facts on this?

    * Any idea what teacher salaries are like in the CI? It seems that schools there follow NZ curriculum, NCEA and all that sort of stuff, but I have seen some figures on salary scales that seemed pretty low compared to standard NZ teacher pay scales. It seems that the NZ$ is the currency there, so I don't think there's any exchange rate in the equation. There's mention in job postions of supplementary pay - but what are these for, and are they significant in amount?

    * What is it like to live/work in the CI? I'm not asking about what it's like to go there on vacation - judging from the brochures and the $$$ people spend to go there as tourists, I gather it's some kind of paradise (for a week or 2, anyways...). I'm wondering if anybody here has ever gone there for an extended period, worked and lived alongside CIers, etc. What's it like?

    * What's the cost of living like: rent, food, etc? We're not curious about buying anything, as we're a few zero digits short of being in any sort of real-estate-shopping realm for the CI (judging from what I've seen on the web, anyways...). Just wondering what it costs to live/work there for a while - is it feasible on a teacher's salary?

    * What is transportation like in the CI? Are there a lot of cars or do people rely on other means of transportation (buses, bikes, walking, etc)?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated...


    Cookie Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004


    Hmmm the following is what I have gathered from miscellaneous reading so am very willing to be corrected on anything below!

    1. I have the impression that you need to be an NZ citizen to go and live / work freely in the Cooks. I have seen a couple of jobs on Pacific Islands (government jobs but not teaching) which I might have applied for but which were only open to NZ citizens. It might have been becuase they were govt jobs though - teaching might be different. Mr Rr has had several colleagues (all kiwi citizens) who have taught on various PIs including the Cooks. Some of them were exchanges, some took up jobs - most went for a couple of years then came back to NZ. Have you actually applied for any jobs / spoken with any schools? They would probably be the best source of info for the rules and regulations of employing overseas teachers. AS you might expect, competition is very high for such jobs - most jobs on the Cooks are very low paid / tourism, so teaching is seen as a well paid job - and desirable.

    2. I would imagine that the salaries on the PIs are much lower than in NZ. You would not beconsidered to be working 'in NZ', you would be working in a tiny island economy and receiving a local salary albeit paid in NZ$.

    3. I imagine it would be like living on any small island. The advantages are the laid back approach to life, escape from the rat race, (for the Cooks) scenic splendour and beautiful beaches and snorkelling / diving in your spare time. The disadvantages are the lack of choice for everything from food to clothes to music to books to everthing else, everyone knowing all your business, high cost of living, small island mentality / narrow mindedness. I've spent time working / studying on small islands in the Barrier Reef and in Orkney - the experience was remarkably similar in terms of the mentality of the people and the restrictions - as well as the benefits.

    4. Cost of living would be relatively high if you want home comforts that have to be imported, less if you are willing to live on local foods / in local housing etc. It's one of the drawbacks of living in a remote place. But as I said, teaching is probably seen as a relatively well paid job, relative to local salaries.

    5. Transportation is good on the Cooks. There's basically one road that runs all the way round the outside of the island and buses run regularly. Lots of cars / scooters / bikes etc as well.

    HTH - and good luck with your search for paradise!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004


    Just wanted to add that from the little I've jsut read online (becuase the idea of living / working on another PI appeals to me) even non-Cook Island born NZ Citizens have to apply for a work permit in order to take up employment there. The relationship between NZ and the CI is a 'special relationship' by which they share citizenship, and NZ provides certain benefits in terms of defence etc that the Cooks would struggle to supply for itself. But that's as far as it goes.

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