The University of the South Pacific Cook Islands Campus

Excellence in uniquely Pacific learning and innovation for the sustainable development of Pacific Islands people

About Us

The University of the South Pacific (USP) opened on the 5th of February 1968 at Laucala Bay in Suva. A brief opening ceremony was held at 8:45am and 15 minutes later staff were administering tests for the University's first intake of 160 students. These first students came from Fiji, American Samoa, Western Samoa, Tonga, British Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Gilbert and Ellice Islands (subsequently Kiribati and Tuvalu), New Hebrides (later Vanuatu), Niue, Tokelau and the United States Trust Teritory.

Today the University has 14 Campuses around the region, namely in Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The USP Cook Islands Centre was officially established in 1975 under the directorship of Mr. Neville Pearson and housed at the Public Health building in Tupapa, Rarotonga. At this time the Centre was linked to the main USP Campus at Laucala using the Peacesat satellite service.

The current campus building was opened at Takamoa in 1979 and extended in 2012. The majority of the study done through Cook Islands Campus is via "distance flexible learning". Flexible learning at USP is nothing new. Its distributed nature requires the University to engage in open and flexible approaches to learning which it has done since its inception.

Flexible learning is a state of being in which learning and teaching is increasingly freed from the limitations of the time, place and pace of study.

The need for flexible approaches to learning and teaching at USP has been growing lately out of the inability of conventional campus based educational practices to meet the growing demands for access to educational opportunity in the region. Increasingly large numbers of students both from those who are on campus and those who are at a distance from it are choosing to study by flexible learning. The regional nature of USP and the very real challenges of having students scattered over vast geographical distances led the University to be a pioneer in the mode since the early 1970's.


USP Cook Islands Campus Director, Dr Debi Futter-Puati, reflects on her career, research and an increase in enrollments at USP Cook Islands.

"I was able to transfer or cross credit what I'd already done [at Massey University] to here [USP]. The Masters programme in New Zealand was very much New Zealand focused whereas USP had a much more international focus. I felt like the degree that I earned here [at USP] was far more valuable."

Hon Mark Brown, Cook Islands Prime Minister


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Fees Free Initiative Extension

January 18, 2021

The Cook Islands Government announces its intention to extend the fees free initiative to allow students to complete their programmes.

January 9, 2021

Teachers from Rarotonga and the Pa Enua are nearing completion of a Diploma in Cook Islands Maori, the first ever of its kind.

January 5, 2021

The University of the South Pacific, and all it's regional campuses, are officially smoke free designations.

December 8, 2020

Forbes praises the University of the South Pacific's quick adaptation to online learning amidst the corona virus pandemic.

Our Mission

To influence Pacific Islanders through the pursuit of excellence in knowledge by providing world-class education and research that improves the lives of individuals and communities.


Our Values

To be guided by our Pacific Values of inclusive family, participatory and open dialogue.