More South Wairarapa residents sign on as citizens

South Wairarapa has 17 new citizens after a ceremony at the Waihinga Centre in Martinborough.

The new Kiwis reflect a diverse range of countries including the USA, South Africa, England and Ireland, the Czech Republic, Samoa and Fiji.

Citizenship ceremonies are conducted regularly by South Wairarapa District Council and are an opportunity to celebrate with and show manaakitanga (hospitality) to those who have chosen to identify as New Zealanders.

The new citizens were welcomed by a strong contingent of mana whenua. They were called in by Council’s Pou Māori, Leanne Karauna, as the kaikaranga (caller), followed by a mihi whakatau by Kaumatua Abe Matenga. They were supported by rangatira Nelson Rangi, and Violet and Leonie Edwards of the Māori Standing Committee.

At the ceremony, Mayor Martin Connelly greeted the new citizens in Māori, English and each of their languages.

After sharing a story about the legendary explorer Kupe, Mr Connelly spoke of his own arrival in the Wairarapa 13 years ago and how he now had the opportunity to welcome others.

“The Wairarapa has much to offer. I encourage you to explore its natural features if you have not already done so. I encourage you to learn more about Kupe … and the history of the region. It is an immensely interesting history.”

Also present was Council’s Acting Chief Executive, Russell O’Leary, who congratulated the newcomers for taking the step from residents of New Zealand to citizens.

“When you first came to this beautiful country, you may not have known that you would one day call it your own.

“As one who has chosen to become a New Zealand citizen, you share a common bond with all New Zealanders, regardless of our different backgrounds. Significantly, you bring the history and heritage of your homeland to your new status as a citizen of New Zealand, therefore enriching us all.

“Until today New Zealand was your home; now it is your country, and your future is connected to New Zealand’s future.”

South Wairarapa District Council recently joined Welcoming Communities, a nationally-funded scheme led by Immigration New Zealand to help make our district inclusive for everyone who calls it home.

If you are a relative newcomer to our district, we would love you to help increase our understanding of what it’s like to settle here. Do the survey on our website at

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