New Kiwi families were welcomed together as citizens at Government House today in the spirit of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Governor-General said at his Waitangi Day reception.
The reception, which began at 4.30pm, was hosted by Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife Lady Janine, who had earlier today presided over a special citizenship ceremony at Government House.
During his official Waitangi Day address, Sir Jerry acknowledged National MP Gerry Brownlee, as well as Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who had officiated the earlier citizenship ceremony.
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While Sir Jerry reflected on the history of the Treaty of Waitangi and the divisions it had caused between Maori and Pakeha, he also spoke about the unity which had developed over the years, touching on the significance of the world wars and the importance of New Zealand citizenship.
"Earlier today, we hosted a citizenship ceremony in which 25 new New Zealanders took the oath or affirmation of allegiance to our head of state, the queen of New Zealand.
"This is the fourth time we have hosted a citizenship ceremony at Government House, and each time I have been impressed by the diversity of cultures, ethnicities, ages and experiences they bring to our country."
Having families swear allegiance or take the oath for citizenship together was in the spirit of the Treaty of Waitangi, Sir Jerry said.
"Whether you or your ancestors came to New Zealand by waka a thousand years ago, by a sailing ship 200 years ago, by steamer 100 years ago, or by aeroplane 10 years ago, they came seeking a land of opportunity where they and their families could live in peace.
"As we celebrate Waitangi Day, our national day, we celebrate all of the things that are right with our country and welcome into the fold our newest New Zealand citizens."