Marae Welcome for New Citizens
Thursday 28 June
Sixteen South Taranaki residents were sworn in as new citizens at Taiporohēnui Marae last Thursday (28 June).
South Taranaki Mayor, Ross Dunlop, says the citizenship ceremony was doubly significant - not only did the residents become new citizens (which is always special in itself), but it was also the first time the South Taranaki ceremony was held on a marae.
“Our residents come from a very diverse range of cultural backgrounds and it was very special that we were able to hold the ceremony at Taiporohēnui,” says Mr Dunlop.
“It helped the new citizens gain a better appreciation of tangata whenua and what this relationship means for us as New Zealanders.”
Ngati Ruanui kaumatua Sandy Parata congratulated Mayor Dunlop for taking the initiative to hold the citizenship ceremony at the marae.
“It was great to see our new citizens being welcomed and respecting our tikanga within the whare and marae. It was wonderful to see such support from the community and hope we can do it more often.”
New citizen, Manaia resident Mary Moore, says she was very moved by the citizenship ceremony.
“The marae was beautiful, the speakers and singers were stirring. The powhiri was very warm and moving. There were hongi, handshakes and hugs. I felt privileged to be welcomed in this way along with a diverse group of people from all parts of the world.”
A number of citizens who were recently sworn in at a previous ceremony in March were also there to experience the unique ceremony on a marae.
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