Reflecting on what was once the more customary route to citizenship, Marshall observed that “traditionally, people arrived in New Zealand from Great Britain”.
“That was certainly the case from the mid-1800s through to the 1970s and 1980s, but then things started to change for the better, in the sense that we had a more diverse population who originated from such places as the Americas, from Europe, from Africa, from Asia, and of course the Pacific.”
The High Commissioner then went on to note the many different places from around the world that Thursday’s new citizens originated, coming from Ireland, Canada, the United States of America, Great Britain, Kiribati, Fiji and France, who he wished all the very best with the World Cup soccer on Sunday.
Marshall also acknowledged the new citizens’ perseverance and the support they undoubtedly received from their family and friends throughout the process of acquiring citizenship.
“For those of you who are about to receive citizenship, well done,” he said. “I know it takes a lot of patience. It does take a lot of time. There is a lot of resilience required, and a lot of hard work. But I think you’ll find it’s worth it, so well done.
“And in that context, can I also acknowledge your immediate family and your supporters – because without their support, without their backing, and without their ongoing encouragement, I suspect it would have been a far more difficult task to get to where you are now.”
Taking place amongst the lush surrounds of Ngatipa, high on the hill overlooking Avarua, Thursday’s ceremony was clearly a proud moment for all those gathered together to swear their allegiance to New Zealand and Her Majesty The Queen.
After the taking of oaths, the presentation of certificates and the singing of the New Zealand national anthem, the floor was open for any new citizen who wished to say a few words.
Canadian Steve Reddick took up the opportunity, although for a second it looked as though his emotions might get the better of him.“I’m not much of a speechmaker, and I really get nervous standing in front of crowds, but today is such a special day, because – I’m here,” said Reddick.
“It’s been a long – it hasn’t been that long actually, getting here, it’s only been 15 years. But every moment of it, with my family, living in the Cook Islands, with everyone here, working, playing, meeting the people and just living the life – you’ve gotta love the Cook Islands and love New Zealand for looking after us.
“And thank you New Zealand for looking after me.”
Echoing the High Commissioner’s earlier comments, freshly minted New Zealand citizen Lucy McDonald later added that it was “great to see the diversity of people who also became citizens today”.
“I’m delighted to become a New Zealand citizen,” she said. “Congratulations to everybody.”