WATCH: New citizens welcomed at Waitangi celebrations
New citizens in Porirua were treated to pōwhiri and kai at Takapuwahia Marae before the city’s annual Waitangi Day Festival.
Tangata whenua welcomed new citizens and their families onto the marae and told the group about Waitangi Day.
After a morning tea, they walked together to Te Rauparaha Park where students from Te Kura Maori O Porirua performed a haka-pōwhiri to officially open the Festival.
The Mayor of Porirua, Mike Tana, was there with the new citizens and says it was a beautiful start to the day.
“That’s what Waitangi Day is for us. It’s including all the new people that have come into Porirua and live here now, and tangata whenua, and having a partnership about how we make Porirua something amazing.” He says.
Among the new citizens enjoying the experience was Ann from England and Switzerland, who has lived in New Zealand for 12 years.
“We were really excited to be invited onto the marae, that was really precious for us, the first time in 12 years,” Ann says.
Sidney Robinson from South Africa was also among the new citizens walking.
He was celebrating Waitangi Day to get to know the culture and history of New Zealand, and because his partner works in community health in Porirua.
“All of those things together brought me here today. It’s good to know a bit of the history,” he says.
Missy Te Kahu, who works for Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira, was proud that Porirua included its new citizens in Waitangi Day celebrations.
“We have a multi-cultural community here because we’ve got a lot of refugees and new citizens coming into Porirua,” she says.
“It’s the only fair where we welcome them on Waitangi day.”