Northern Districts are to play a significant role in the development of Cook Islands cricket.
The New Zealand-based association from an amalgamation of several sub-associations in the north of the North Island has entered into an agreement with the International Cricket Council through its development programme for the East Asia-Pacific region.
Auckland originally had connections with the Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa but a change of direction let the link lapse.
Canterbury have picked up Tonga and Northern Districts (ND) have become involved with the Cook Islands.
ND chief executive John Turkington said representatives of the ND association would be involved in running coach education course, development activities for elite and junior players and would assist with administration and strategic planning.
Cricket equipment and development resources will also be channelled the way of the Cooks association.
The agreement is for an initial period of 12 months. Turkington said: "We hope that this partnership will play a pivotal role in creating and shaping the future of cricket development in the Cook Islands, while also presenting unique opportunities for ND staff. By passing on ND's knowledge of cricket development and business, I feel we can have a genuine input into the growth of the game in the Cooks."
The co-ordinator of the programme will be Dave Richardson, the senior Waikato development officer.
ICC East Asia-Pacific development manager Matthew Kennedy said: "The Cook Islands has been a pro-active country within the programme and cricket is at an exciting stage with many activities and initiatives being conducted. This additional support will be invaluable in assisting the hard-working volunteer officials and players to achieve their aims of cricket progression.
"The Northern Districts Cricket Association is a high quality cricket organisation, and the ICC is delighted to have set-up a partnership whereby the NDCA can have an influence within its development programme. The involvement of provincial associations has much to offer in both the immediate and longer term and, as the programme expands their participation is seen as important to the ICC's servicing of this region."