History was made as the first citizenship ceremony was held at Hoani Waititi Marae.
All three West Auckland local boards welcomed 80 people on the cusp of becoming New Zealanders and their guests onto the marae recently, for the very first marae-based citizenship ceremony in Tāmaki Makaurau.
The three boards – Waitākere Ranges, Whau and Henderson-Massey all supported the ceremony as part of their group efforts to achieve better Māori outcomes, which is an integral component in their newly adopted Local Board Plans for the next three years, and as a way to continue to build the relationship with the marae.
Waitākere Ranges Local Board chair Greg Presland is pleased to see the event went well.
Greg says: “As a board we’re proud to lead this inaugural citizenship ceremony on a marae in Tāmaki Makaurau. It’s an honour for us to introduce new citizens to a marae experience and provide the benefit of cultural exchange.
The marae provided the perfect backdrop for a ceremony where new citizens pledge their allegiance to our country.
“The name of the wharenui at Hoani Waititi marae is Ngā Tūmanako, which means hopes and aspirations. It’s hard to imagine a more fitting place for people to begin a new chapter in their lives,” adds Greg.
Whau Local Board chair Kay Thomas was delighted to address the participants during the event.
“Our board is excited to welcome new citizens from many lands with long and proud histories. By merging our cultures’ histories and ideas, we forge new friendships and develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. We are all stronger for this,” she says.
Henderson-Massey Local Board chair Chris Carter says: “We as a board are thrilled that iwi at the marae hosted this citizenship ceremony.”
“Māori identity and culture are New Zealand’s unique point of difference in the world. Henderson-Massey Local Board appreciates the opportunity to give the new kiwis a taste of our country,” says Carter.
The ceremony followed the typical format citizenship ceremonies, including a group oath or affirmation of allegiance, in English and te reo Māori, the presentation of citizenship certificates, and the national anthem.
Hoani Waititi is one of the first pan-tribal marae in the country. The marae acts as a community hub for the Urban Māori population of West Auckland, and is the site of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi, one of the first Kura Kaupapa Māori established in New Zealand.