Story: Cook Islanders

Pension portability

Pension portability

Cook Islander William Framhein (left), pictured in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, went to school and worked in New Zealand, and served with the New Zealand armed forces in Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam in the 1960s. He returned to New Zealand in 1971 and worked at a Wellington abattoir until 1988, when he and his wife moved to Australia. They later retired to the Cook Islands.

Despite being a New Zealand citizen, Framhein was denied a veteran’s pension because he did not live in New Zealand at the time of application and hadn’t lived there for at least five years since the age of 50. In an effort to become eligible, Framhein spent six months of each year in New Zealand, but each time he travelled between New Zealand and the Cook Islands he suffered from deep vein thrombosis. In 2012 he was given a special dispensation by the government, and in 2015 the law was changed so Cook Islanders, Niueans and Tokelauans (all of whom are New Zealand citizens) could return to their home countries after they turned 55 without losing their New Zealand pension rights.

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Cook Islanders - Settlement', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/3750/pension-portability (accessed 26 September 2020)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Mar 2015