New Zealand Welcomes 13 new Citizens on Waitangi Day

High Commissioner Jackie Frizelle with one of the new New Zealand citizens and her mother

APIA: MONDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2015: New Zealand welcomed 13 new citizens at a swearing in ceremony on Waitangi Day, 6 February. During the ceremony the citizens took a vow of allegiance in front of friends and family.

High Commissioner Jackie Frizelle told those gathered that it was a particularly special day to become a New Zealander, as it marked the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“In addition to the rights and privileges we all enjoy there are also responsibilities and obligations of citizenship. Honouring the Treaty of Waitangi will always be one of those responsibilities,” Frizelle said.

Each of the citizenship certificates presented at the ceremony incorporate a logo to acknowledge the significant anniversary of the Treaty’s signature.

The High Commissioner also noted that New Zealand does not require its new citizens to adopt a particular culture.

“Your new bonds to New Zealand will never diminish the importance of your heritage, your traditions or your support for Manu Samoa. This diversity strengthens and enriches New Zealand society, both now and in the future,” Frizelle said.

One of those receiving a citizenship certificate was Mr Henry Tamasese. Mr Tamasese expressed his profound gratitude to the people of New Zealand for giving him the privilege of becoming a citizen.

“I hold the utmost respect and admiration for New Zealand as a nation, as a stalwart of the Pacific and for her close relationship with my birth country. I hope to make a meaningful contribution to its society and to uphold the values and principles expected of a new citizen.” Mr Tamasese said.

The new citizens acquired citizenship either by descent (i.e. born overseas to a New Zealand parent), or by grant under the Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982.

Each new citizen was presented with a copy of the book Choice Whiriwhiria combining interviews and images of people who have chosen to become New Zealanders with information about citizenship and New Zealand’s identity. A Samoan New Zealander, Tolufale Leasuasu, is among those profiled in the book.

Following the ceremony the new citizens joined other guests celebrating Waitangi Day at the New Zealand Official Residence.