2017-2018 Awards - Winners!

Air New Zealand Supreme Award


Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award Jack Cooper

Lifetime Achievement in Tourism Award Des Eggelton


Bluesky Emerging Tourism Leader: On the Beach (OTB) Restaurant & Bar

Bluesky People’s Choice Award: Te Vara Nui Village

Pitt Media Group Family Friendly Award: Pacific Resort Rarotonga

Cook Islands Sun Social Media Guru: Ikurangi Eco Retreat

Cook Islands News Business Sustainability Award: Cook Islands Holiday Villas

Ministry of Cultural Development Pa Enua Award: Punarei Culture Tour and Heritage Trust Aitutaki


CITC Culture Award: Highland Paradise Cultural Centre

CITC Environment Award: Ikurangi Eco Retreat

BSP Business Excellence Award: Pacific Resort Aitutaki

BSP Employer of the Year Award: Edgewater Resort & Spa

Bank of the Cook Islands Adventure/Eco Tourism Award: Storytellers Eco Cycle Tours

Bank of the Cook Islands Visitor Experience/Customer Care Award: Koka Lagoon Cruises

Cook Islands Tourism Community Development Award: Bank of South Pacific (BSP)

Cook Islands Tourism Marketing Award:

A big Meitaki Ma’ata to our generous sponsors!

A successful Tourism Awards 2018 sponsors launch was held in the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge on 05 Oct 2017.

2018 Sponsors

2018 Awards – Applications closed, Judging in process!

Meitaki Ma’ata to all businesses who submitted an application for the 2018 Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards!

Our excellent New Zealand based judges are busy going over all the applications and have recently visited Rarotonga and Aitutaki to conduct in-person interviews with every applicant.

The finalists for each category will be announced in March, and the winners will be announced live at our highly anticipated Gala Function on Friday 20 April 2018.

Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards

CITC acknowledge the tourism industry

Founded in 1891, the Cook Islands Trading Corporation Limited (CITC) is the longest serving and the largest business enterprise in the Cook Islands.

This year CITC celebrate twenty years under the majority ownership of the Clarke family. The McKegg family who acquired an ownership interest in 1916 is the significant co-owner. Trevor Clarke is Executive Chairman; his daughter Dianna Clarke-Bates, Executive Director.

CITC General Manager Gaye Whitta oversees the businesses that include CITC Avarua, CITC Building Centre, CITC Food, CITC Liquor, CITC Pharmacy, CITC Duty Free, CITC Kavera, Oasis, and CITC’s sister company Excil Shipping.

CITC is the largest employer in the Cook Islands with over 300 staff (97% locals).

According to Gaye, CITC has taken a new direction in the past twenty years investing in infrastructure, upgrading buildings, and expanding businesses, emphasising that CITC investment has been line with the growth of tourism.

“For example, pre 1998, Avarua shopping complex and pharmacy were there, but not Café Salsa and the adjacent shops. The ANZ building was also part of the CITC expansion,” said Gaye.

“Most things involving tourism in Rarotonga somehow have to do with CITC – from shipping goods, to purchase of food, clothes, alcohol and pharmacy products. Even building materials used in tourism property development.”

Mid-2018 CITC will open CITC Matavera.

“Similar to CITC Kavera but bigger. CITC is to be the tenant of the owner/developer Kaka and Annie Ama. The premises have been designed with tourism in mind. Look what Kavera has done for tourism. And, like Kavera a lot of the clientele will be locals”.

In 2018 CITC will once again be Gold sponsors of the Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards. The Awards, run by the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council, are ‘designed to stimulate the process of continual business improvement and to recognise excellence within the tourism industry’.

“CITC also strives to achieve excellence, everyday. Tourism is a huge part of our business. 74% of Cook Islands GDP is tourism, and 80% or more of our business would be related to tourism, so we gratefully support Cook Islands tourism because they support us!

Pictured (right) is CITC General Manager Gaye Whitta and (below small image) is Dianna Clarke-Bates with Sue Fletcher-Vea, President of the Tourism Industry Council

Gaye Whitta

Dianna and Sue

BSP ‘Touch and Go’ with the 2018 Cook Islands Tourism Awards

Bank South Pacific (BSP) reinforced its commitment to the region in 2018 with their Gold sponsorship of the Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards for the second consecutive time.

According to the BSP Cook Islands General Manager, David Street, tourism is the ‘lifeblood’ of the Cook Islands.

“We see it as part of our corporate and social responsibility to support the tourism industry and initiatives such as the Cook Islands Tourism Awards,” said Mr. Street.

“The majority of our customers in one way, shape or form, are involved in tourism.”

Mr. Street said recognising outstanding achievement and excellence in tourism is integral in ensuring the industry continues to develop and improve.

“Visitors to the islands keep our economy prosperous”.

BSP are also committed to the growth and development of technology for the benefit of its customers, and for our visitors to the islands. “BSP have new electronic initiatives coming to the fore, including brand new, state-of-the-art EFTPOS machines,” said Mr. Street.

“We are also introducing a unique banking feature for the Cook Islands called ‘Touch and Go’, whereby a cardholder can just tap a BSP EFTPOS device with their card to make a transaction. For security reasons there will be a limit of $50 per transaction, with any amount over and above requiring a PIN number or signature.”

Mr. Street said the ‘Touch and Go’ facility would also reduce the usage of cheques and cash, and therefore provide a safe, convenient and cost effective banking solution for BSP merchants and their customers.

Mr. Street congratulated the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council (CITIC) for staging the Cook Islands Tourism Awards, and providing BSP with the opportunity to be a Gold Sponsor in 2018.

“A strong tourism industry is critical to sustaining the economic success and prosperity of the Cook Islands.”

Pictured (below small image) is BSP Manager David Street and CI Tourism Industry Council President Sue Fletcher-Vea

Bank South Pacific

BSP Sponsor lunch

Naming rights sponsor of 2018 Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards

Air New Zealand has continued its ongoing support of the Cook Islands Tourism Awards for 2018, earning its right to title sponsorship for the 2018 Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards.

With scheduled flights in and out of Rarotonga, Air New Zealand connects the Cook Islands to New Zealand, North America and Australia.

Air New Zealand Cook Islands Manager, Marisa Newman, said: “As a tourism operator ourselves, we understand the significance of tourism in the Cooks and are incredibly proud to be a long-time sponsor of the Cook Islands Tourism Awards, which celebrate excellence in tourism and promoting this wonderful destination.

Air New Zealand has operated services to the Cook Islands for more than 40 years.

“Each year we enjoy bringing in thousands of visitors to experience the very best of what the beautiful Cook Islands has to offer,” added Marisa. “Our team of 70 employees here in Rarotonga also work closely with our industry partners - from the tour operators and accommodation providers to transport drivers, restaurant and retail staff and everyone else in between - to deliver unforgettable visitor experiences”.

In 2017 it was nice to see, amongst other accolades, Air New Zealand was chosen Airline of the Year (, Top Airline in the World (Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards), and Australasia’s Leading Airline (World Travel Awards).

“We’re looking forward to celebrating those tourism businesses that continually raise the bar and deliver strong customer experiences at the 2018 Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards.”

Pictured (below small image) is Air New Zealand Cook Islands Manager Marisa Newman and CI Tourism Industry Council President Sue Fletcher-Vea.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand Cook Islands Manager Marisa Newman and CI Tourism Industry Council President Sue Fletcher-Vea