New Online Registry Live!
The new online registry was launched Tuesday 10th December 2019 by the Ministry of Justice. This project is the culmination of several years of work by the Ministry of Justice, Asia Development Bank, and ParadigmApps, with the additional support of AusAid, the New Zealand government, and the Cook Islands government....
Te Tango Tutara o te Ture
Location: Tapere Avarua, Rarotonga
Ministry of Justice Retreat 2019
Building Unity & Moving Forward as one.

PUBLIC NOTICE: Public Counter Service Hours from March 2022

Effective Monday 7th March 2022, due to staff capacity constraints and implementation of covid19 protocols, the Ministry of Justice will be reducing the Rarotonga office hours of when its service counters are open to the public to 10am to 2pm, unless by appointment. Members of the public are encouraged to call ahead on (682) 29410 or  email to schedule an appointment. Make an Appointment

This change will only impact services provided over the counter; court schedules will continue to operate as normal.


This website and its content is copyright of the Cook Islands Ministry of Justice © 2009. All rights reserved.

Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited other than the following:

  • You may print or download to a local hard disk extracts for your personal and non-commercial use only
  • You may copy the content to individual third parties for their personal use, but only if you acknowledge the website as the source of the material

You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.


Terms and Conditions Details

Welcome to our website. If you continue to browse and use this website you are agreeing to comply with and be bound by the following terms and conditions of use, which together with our privacy policy govern "Ministry of Justice - Cook Islands" in this document, relationship with you in relation to this website.

The term "Ministry of Justice" or "us" or "we" refers to the owner of the website whose registered office is Avarua, Rarotonga, Cook Islands. The term "you" refers to the user or viewer of our website.

The use of this website is subject to the following terms of use:

  • The content of the pages of this website is for your general information and use only. It is subject to change without notice.
  • Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials found or offered on this website for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.

Frequently Asked Questions



Q. How do I apply for a birth certificate?

A. You will need to provide the following details:

  1. your date of birth
  2. your place of birth
  3. the name of your parents
  4. your detailed current postal address if applied from overseas
  5. payment for the certificate. If applied from overseas payment at the Cook Islands High Commission or via Western Union (for details please contact this office) NB. Payment must be in NZ currency

By-law you must register the birth of your child within 14 days. Failure to do so will result in a penalty of NZ$10 being imposed for each month of being late.


Q. How do I apply for a marriage licence?

A. You must apply in person.

Q. How many days am I required to give notice of my intention to get married?

A. Minimum 3 days.

Q. Can we get married even though we will be in the Cook Islands less than the minimum notice requirement (3 days)?

A. Yes if you pay the "3 days minimum -waiver" fee (for current fees and charges please refer to the menu item "fees").

Q. Can two people of the same sex/gender get married or have a civil union in the Cook Islands?

A. The law of the Cook Islands, as at July 2010, does not allow same sex marriage/civil union.

Q. Do you know any marriage celebrant?

A. As a government agency, the Ministry of Justice does not recommend any particular celebrant/package. The Cook Islands Tourism might have these answers for you

Q. Do you have any marriage package?

A. Same as above



Q. Why do I keep getting these pesky reminders about annual return and annual registration?

A. By law you are required to file the annual return for your company and pay the annual registration fee. Failure to do so will result in steps being undertaken by this office to have your company de-registered.

Q. I am the secretary of an Incorporated Society do I have to file the annual return too?

A. No, but you must file the annual financial statement.

Q. Can I have access to any company information?

A. Only to the part that is not confidential of a company.



Q. What is the minimum amount of money for my share of the land rental must I have before the Ministry will issue a cheque?

A. NZ$20, as bank charges and administrative fees will cost the Ministry more than the amount on the cheque that it issues to the land owner.

Q. I am on the register as a landowner of a certain parcel of land; that land is being leased HOW can I receive my share of the land rental?

A. If you collect it personally you will need to show some forms of ID (eg. driver licence, passport...). The land trust clerk will check your details. If everything is in order you will be issued with a cheque for your entilement.

Q. Can my relative collect land rental on my behalf?

A. Yes, if he/she has your power of attorney.

Q. I do not want my brother/sister/relative to collect rent and/or to act as my proxy etc... what can I do?

A.You can write a letter to the Registrar to revoke the Power of Attorney or proxy.

Q. How can I get land in the Cook Islands?

A. If you are a "Native" Cook Islander, you can apply for Succession(s) or an Occupation Right.

Q. Can I buy land(s) in the Cook Islands?

A. No. Land in the Cook Islands CANNOT be sold. If you have permanent resident status you may lease land(s). Most leases have 60 years (shorter for commercial leases) span.

Q. Can I buy an Island in the Cooks Islands?

A. Same as above.


Court fines

Q. I have been fined by the court, how long do I have to pay the fine?

A. Usually 28 days to pay OR as ordered by the court.

Q. What happens if I do not pay by the due date?

A. A warrant for your arrest will be issued.

When this happens it will cost you more:

  1. the outstanding fine + NZ$30 execution fee (charged by the bailiff) if you have the money to pay at the time of the warrant being served OR
  2. the outstanding fine + NZ$30 execution fee + NZ$60 imprisonment transfer fee (charged by the bailiff) to get out of jail.



Q. I\'ve heard that I can apply for people who have been ordered by the court to do community services to help clean my yard or work on my taro patches... Is this correct?

A. Yes, it is correct if you can be classified as one of these two categories:

  1. an elderly person (over 60) or
  2. a community

Q. How long and how often does the help last?

A. Ususally between 7:30am - 12:00pm on Saturday. How often? That depends on the size of the project and the availablility of resources.

Q. Will it cost me anything?

A. You will not be charged for labour; you are however expected to provide food and drink for the worker(s) at the end of his/her/their shift.

Q. My need is quite urgent, can I have this help immediately?

A. As this is a popular program, bookings are usually made well in advance.

Q. Can I apply for this service on-line or do I have to fill out a form then hand it over the Ministry of Justice's counter?

A. You can apply for this service either on-line or download an application form, fill it out then hand it in at the Ministry's office in Avarua.

To download an application form click here.

For on-line application please include the following details:

your name


contact number

a brief description of the requested job

date to be carried out

toilet facilities (Yes / No)

On-line application click here.

To download the application form click here.


Approval for work to be performed by probationers will be decided by the Chief Probation Officer based on eligibility and compliance with Acts and Regulations (Section 16 (3)(a)(b)(c)(d) of the Criminal Justice Amendment Act 1976).

Work that requires grass cutting/lawn mowing or use of chainsaws, you are required to provide petrol and/or oil.

Also note that NO payment is required for work performed by probationers however you are expected to provide food (lunch) and drink.



Q. When can I visit an inmate?

A. If the inmate is:

  • a sentenced inmate - 12:00pm - 2:30pm on Sunday
  • a remanded inmate - 9:00am - 11:00am Monday to Friday

Q. Where can I buy crafted products (ukelele, carving...) made by the inmates?

A. You can buy these products at the reception between 8:00am to 3:00pm Monday-Friday.

Q. Can I hire some inmates do do labouring jobs?

A. Yes, supervised (supervision will be provided) inmate hire is available. You are however required to pick up and drop off the inmate(s) as well as provide food and drink (lunch). NB. You are also required to provide your own tools.

Q. What is the daily rate for hiring an inmate?

A. As at July 2010, NZ$28.20 per inmate. For correct up-to-date rate please contact this office.


Disclaimer Details

The information available in or through this web site is intended to provide general information to the public. All reasonable measures have been taken to ensure the quality/accuracy of the information available in this web site and to prevent it from being infected by computer viruses and other contamination.

Those accessing this web site are advised:

  1. The Ministry of Justice makes no warranty, express or implied, nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness, completeness or use of any information that is available in or through this web site.
  2. The Ministry of Justice makes no warranty, express or implied, nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the web site being temporarily unavailable due to circumstances beyond the Ministry's control.
  3. The Ministry of Justice may change, delete, add to, or otherwise amend information contained in this web site without notice.
  4. The Ministry of Justice is not responsible for the content of other web sites linked to, or referenced from, this web site. The Ministry of Justice neither endorses the information, content, presentation, or accuracy of such other web sites, nor makes any warranty, express or implied, regarding these other web sites.
  5. Nothing contained in this web site is, or shall be relied on as a promise or representation by the Ministry of Justice as to the past or future.
  6. The contents of this web site should not be construed as legal, business or tax advice.
  7. Any reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacture, or otherwise does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or favouring by the Ministry of Justice.

All those accessing this web site who ignore this disclaimer do so at their own risk.