Cook Islands supports bikini-clad safety video
The Cook Island tourism board has come out in support of Air New Zealand's controversial in-flight safety video featuring Sports Illustrated bikini models.
The full version of the Safety in Paradise video was released by Air New Zealand today, after criticism over its "highly sexualised" content when behind-the-scenes footage was put out last week.
Massey University lecturer and feminist commentator Deborah Russell said she objected to the use of "highly sexualised" images in a safety video.
"My concern is that as a woman I get on a plane to go to a business meeting say - something serious - and I am confronted by women in bikinis in what are highly sexualised images," Russell said.
"That jars. I want to be taken seriously but it seems that suddenly they are saying that my sexuality is all that matters about me."
But Cook Islands Tourism Corporation general manager Graeme West said the video gave valuable exposure for the Cooks.
"It's not just about the international models, although they definitely add glamour," West said.
"The spectacular scenic shots of Aitutaki are also show stoppers.
"Having Aitutaki - which is often described as 'heaven on earth' shown in all her beauty on Air New Zealand flights is fantastic."
The video showed local men, women and children in a typically good-natured, good-humoured and tasteful Cook Islands manner, he said.
Sport Illustrated models Chrissy Teigen, Ariel Meredith, Hannah Davis and Jessica Gomes all star in the video, and one of the original supermodels and three time Sports Illustrated cover girl Christie Brinkley, makes a cameo appearance.
West said he hoped the video would remind people that Aitutaki, Rarotonga and the Cook Islands are a special and accessible South Pacific holiday destination for New Zealanders.
Air NZ head of global brand development Jodi Williams said the behind-the-scenes video generated a lot of conversation around the world about the company's brand, and about the Cook Islands as a destination.
"It's exciting for us to release the full video today and we hope it will encourage many viewers to consider a trip to the Cook Islands," she said.
The video is the latest in a string of safety dramatisations to feature on the national carrier's aircraft and will be rolled out gradually on all routes from today, the 50th anniversary of the Florida-based magazine Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition.
Sports Illustrated swimsuit editor MJ Day said the video was an "exciting component" of the magazine's anniversary celebrations.
"Our partnership with Air New Zealand is brilliant in every way," Day said. "We were able to create a raucous safety video in the true spirit of SI Swimsuit and our Kiwi friends."