Marae welcomes new NZ citizens on Waitangi Day

4:17 pm on 6 February 2017

More than 100 people gathered at Tuahiwi Marae near Christchurch for a Waitangi Day citizenship ceremony today.

Twelve candidates from Waimakariri district and 38 from Christchurch prepare to be welcomed onto Tuahiwi marae for a citizenship ceremony.

Twelve candidates from Waimakariri district and 38 from Christchurch prepare to be welcomed onto Tuahiwi marae for a citizenship ceremony. Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

Fifty people from a range of countries including Fiji, Kenya, China, the UK and Slovenia became New Zealanders in the ceremony.

It is the fifth year the Christchurch City Council has run the event on a marae on Waitangi Day.

For the first time this year the Waimakariri District Council also participated, with 12 of the 50 candidates living in the district.

Gerard Nolan, moved from Glasgow in Scotland to Rangiora 15 years ago and officially became a New Zealander today.

Mr Nolan said having the ceremony on Waitangi Day made the occasion even more special, and anyone becoming a citizen should learn about the significance of the day.

"If you're in somebody else's country I think you should embrace all of the different parts of it ... and I think that's something people should learn about."

Teodria Cotiga and her parents became New Zealand citizens today.

Teodria Cotiga and her parents became New Zealand citizens today. Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

Christchurch based Andrei and Oana Cotiga moved from Romania to New Zealand with their daughter, Teodria, five years ago.

Oana Cotiga said it was fantastic to finally become a citizen.

"Oh it's incredibly exciting we were waiting for this for the last five years," she said.

Ms Cotiga said they loved the weather and the New Zealand landscape, and slowly her family were becoming more accustomed to the food here.

"It's quite different... but we manage," she said.

Teodria Cotiga said she liked going to school in New Zealand.

"The teachers are very nice and you get a quite a fun education," the 10-year-old said.

Citizens-to-be being welcomed onto the marae.

Citizens-to-be being welcomed onto the marae. Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

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