New Kiwis from Hamilton who’d officially become New Zealanders in February this year, were hosted by Hamilton City Council at a special ceremony last night.
For these new Kiwis, the Covid-19 lockdown stole their opportunity to receive citizenship in person at a formal ceremony and instead received their certificates in the post.
That wrong was put right last night as Council hosted a ‘citizenship celebration’ for these Hamiltonians at Claudelands Event Centre.
Some of the new Kiwis who attended the event last night (Photos: courtesy HCC)
Last night’s celebration at Claudelands Events Centre was put on by the Council to recognise that the official ceremony is important rite of passage in the citizenship process.
Nearly 150 attendees, hailing from 35 countries, were presented a letter of congratulations and their koowhai tree from Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate.
“While you will have received your certificates in the post, you have not had the opportunity to experience an official ceremony, so we wanted to give you the chance to participate in some of those special moments tonight,” said Master of Ceremonies, Kay Hale.
Mayor Southgate thanked the new Kiwis for choosing Hamilton.
While thanking the new Kiwis for choosing Hamilton, Mayor Southgate said “Tonight’s ceremony has been a very long time coming – years and years for many of you.
“First and foremost, I want to thank you all for choosing to come to New Zealand, and then to Hamilton.
“To those other immigrants who have chosen Kirikiroroa/Hamilton as your permanent home, thank you. I want you all to know that we have something in common.
“I want to acknowledge that for some of you – particularly those who have come here as refugees – that your journey has been arduous and long and difficult, and that you have made enormous sacrifices.
“By becoming citizens today, you now share a unique bond with other New Zealanders; a very strong bond that links us together tightly,” Mayor Southgate said.
The Council hosts 12 citizenship ceremonies every year on behalf of the Department of Internal Affairs. Held at Hamilton Gardens, the ceremonies regularly see more than 100 people receive their citizenship certificates, swear an oath or affirmation, and be gifted a koowhai tree as a symbol of the roots they have laid on new soil.
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