Waipā’s new citizens packed Cambridge Town Hall in two significant firsts last week.
The 105 people from 19 countries who made their oaths or affirmations on stage were the largest group to do so in the district’s history and the first in the Town Hall, mayor Susan O’Regan told them.
“Today has been a long time coming… and for some of you a very long time indeed,” she said.
“I know many of you have travelled a long way, and that for some of you, your journey to get here, and become citizens, has been harrowing.
“Many of you have left family behind and that grieves you and always will,” she said adding that did not mean giving up strong ties to their home country.
Waipā wanted to hear their stories, find out about their customs and ask why they chose here to make their homes, said O’Regan.
“In sharing our customs, we will be able – I hope – to make you feel even more welcome. And in sharing your background, you will enrich our lives. So we all win.”
In recent years – before and after Covid – the ceremony has been held in the Council Chambers in Te Awamutu and another occasion at Lake Karāpiro.
Moving the ceremony into the historic Cambridge Town Hall represented a new start. They would probably be held less frequently but with more new citizens involved.
And instead of using pre-recorded greetings from the Governor General and a CD version of God Defend New Zealand, the new citizens were greeted with the mayor’s own Spotify mix of New Zealand songs and pianist Joy Hood playing the national anthem. Ironically Hood, who recently moved to Cambridge from Rotorua, is an Australian who has lived in New Zealand for decades and is yet to become a citizen.
The 105 Waipā people who became New Zealand citizens were from Bangladesh, Philippines, Northern Ireland, South Africa, England, Chile, Fiji, Saudi Arabia, India, Kenya, Vietnam, Namibia, France, Thailand, Taiwan, Scotland, French Polynesia and Cambodia.
Monjur Ahmed, Himikaa Ahmed, Faiyaaz Ahmed, Shahida Ahmed Tania (Bangladesh), Ricky Balagot Alota (Philippines), Samuel James Beattie (Northern Ireland), Lee David Burgess (United Kingdom), Tiffany Linda Cawood, Mark Gordon Cawood (South Africa), Maxine Linda Cawood (England), Cristina del Rosario Assis Guidotti (Chile), Kapil Sachindra Dutt (Fiji), Angelie Ensor (Saudi Arabia), Berly George (India), Tertia Guest (South Africa), Julian Robert Holden (Kenya), Paul Albert Horsford, Tanya Horsford (South Africa), Thi Thanh Nhu Huynh (Viet Nam), Denver Franklyn Johnson (South Africa), Harpreet Kaur, Yatin Kaushik, Deepak Kaushik, Priyanka Kaushik (India), Hannah Kettlety (United Kingdom), Ram Krishan (India), John Robert Mackenzie (United Kingdom), Tracy Milstein (Namibia), Ricardo Jr. Maestrecampo Pascua (Philippines), Priya Pathrose (India), Helen Podmore (United Kingdom).
Erwin Oruga Precilla, Kimmy Apple Barroga Precilla, Kier Barroga Precilla (Philippines), Zachary Barroga Precilla (New Zealand), Vivek Raghunathan, Gayathri Rajendran, Yohan Immanuel Vivek (India), Trevor Roux, Hendrik Johannes Roux, Jeanine Roux, Jeanmari Roux, Pierre Francois Roux (South Africa), Dorothy May Sargent (Australia), Amy Scherman, Gillian Scherman, Egbert Johannes Scherman, Christopher John Scherman, Jakobus Cornelius Gideon Scherman (South Africa), Sandra Evalin Sebastian (India), Oliver Glorioso Sefuentes, Rychelle Liyag Sefuentes, Kailyn Eveth Liyag Sefuentes, Karlie Micaela Liyag Sefuentes (Philippines), Charles Edward Nicholas Smith, Lucy Megan Smith, Michael Thomson, Deborah Jane Thomson (United Kingdom), Nico Marthinus Van Zyl, Mariana Van Zyl (South Africa), Ankur Vohra (India).
Hana Beatson (United Kingdom), Lucie Benard, Clement Jean-Claude Paul Dolbeau (France), Tracey Ann Bennett (England), Tanisha Jayne Brogden, Steven Andrew Brown (United Kingdom), Suchira Chaiwat (Thailand), I Wen Chuang (Taiwan), Laura-Jane Elrick (Scotland), Dale Robert Fairbrother, Thomas Charles William Fairbrother, Zoe Danielle Fairbrother (United Kingdom), Jade Marie Hagger (England), Kim Louise Harrison, Karen Marie Heath, Simon Reynolds, Imogen Aisha Reynolds, Dylan Neo Heath Reynolds (United Kingdom), Gurpinderjit Kaur (India), Vanille Reva Kingi (French Polynesia), Cécile Sylvia L’Hermitte, Francis Michel Edmond L’Hermitte (France).
Ryan McHale (England), Jenna Lynn Nicholls (Scotland), Jonathan Raphael Nikitas (France), Lisa Norman, Gail Yvonne Pitcon (United Kingdom), Ayla Beth Pritchard, David Raymond Pritchard, Sam James Pritchard, Wendy Ann Pritchard (England), Diarmuid Micheal Reidy (Ireland), Eileen Mary Rimene (Scotland), Hannah Jane Russell, James Ronald Russell, Katherine Jane Russell, Charlie Russell, Molly Elizabeth Russell (United Kingdom), Silvana Andrea Serei Ferreira (Chile), Komalpreet Singh (India), Christopher Robson, Georgina Rowan Temple Robson, Harriet Temple Robson (United Kingdom), Bunnarith Uy (Cambodia).