The Office of the Ombudsman was established by the Ombudsman Act 1984, with an office and staff set in 1985.

Our Vision - To Promote Fairness for All

Our Mission

The Ombudsman conducts independent and impartial investigations initiated upon receipt of complaints or acting on his own initiative.

The Ombudsman endeavours to strike a fair balance between what the public expects from government services and government that provides those services.

The Ombudsman aims to develop a public service culture which upholds fairness; fosters dedication and commitment; and promotes openness and accountability, taking into account our Cook Islands cultural values

Changes in core legislative functions

Since its establishment the Office was solely responsible for investigating complaints against Government Ministries and Crown Agencies under the Ombudsman Act 1984. In February 2008, this increased to include the Official Information Act 2008. This gave the Ombudsman the mandate to investigate and review complaints about decisions made by Ministries, Ministers of the Crown and Crown Agencies on requests for official information held by the Cook Islands Government.

The Disability Act 2008 gave the Ombudsman the role of investigating complaints where people living with a disability or their agent, feel that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability.

In 2012, the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman was further increased to include the Police Act 2012. This empowered the Ombudsman to investigate complaints in terms of the conduct of police officers, issues relating to policies and procedures. The role of the Ombudsman is the equivalent of the role of the New Zealand Independent Police Conduct Authority.

Ombudsman Niki Rattle


Born on the island of Manihiki . Niki Rattle is a registered nurse, she was the secretary general for Red Cross Cook Islands for 18 years, and more recently was the Speaker of Parliament from May 2012 to February 2021.

Rattle was appointed as the new Ombudsman on the 27 of January 2022.  


Our Values



Customer Service






Our Team & Structure

The Ombudsman by virtue of the Ombudsman Act 1984 is an officer of and responsible to Parliament.  This means that the Ombudsman reports to the Speaker of Parliament as the ‘controller of Parliament’. Ombudsman is supported by the Investigations Lead, Corporate Service Lead and the Compliance Lead

Corporate Service Lead is responsible for the Managing the annual budget and business plans of the office, and is the Human Resources Manager and oversees the Finance & Management division of the office.

Investigation Lead is responsible for the investigation of all complaints received by the office including own motion investigations initiated by the Ombudsman and supported by the Investigations Officer.

The Compliance Lead is responsible for ensuring quality of investigations and other office functions