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.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I apply for a birth certificate?
A. You will need to provide the following details:
- your date of birth
- your place of birth
- the name of your parents
- your detailed current postal address if applied from overseas
- 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?
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.
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:
- 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
- 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:
- an elderly person (over 60) or
- 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:
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.
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:
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