New Kiwis ‘honoured’

Monday July 08, 2019 Written by Published in Local
Deputy NZ high commissioner Samantha Beckett (left), Halatoa Fua and NZ high commissioner Tessa Temata. 19070446 Deputy NZ high commissioner Samantha Beckett (left), Halatoa Fua and NZ high commissioner Tessa Temata. 19070446

After 17 years of living in the Cook Islands, Halatoa Fua has taken the oath of allegiance to New Zealand alongside a handful of others to receive his citizenship this month.

 

Fua is well-known locally as the chief executive officer of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation.

Growing up in Tonga, Fua said, “New Zealand felt like a faraway place, but so close. I knew of Witi Ihimaera, the All Blacks, and their dairy products (the best), and corned beef…”

“This is one of the greatest privileges of my life, I am honoured and humbled to be part of this great country today and I look forward to being a good citizen.”

“Kiwis are down to earth, innovative and open minded – good values that are important, with mine too.”

 “It’s so special be part of the family.”

New Zealand's high commissioner to the Cook Islands Tessa Temata addressed the intimate ceremony presenting the official documents at her Ngatipa residence.

“It’s especially important meeting here. I give a heartfelt welcome to you, your families and supporters.”

Temata shared her fondness for New Zealand, “an extraordinary country. It has the reputation for less corruption, it is seen as an honest country… a privilege of the principles we have.”

Having worked abroad, if Temata had to make a choice, “I genuinely would choose to be a citizen of New Zealand, we are small but we have great hearts, we have our own dynamic culture, it’s so special to see you now as part of the family.”

Temata echoed the words of NZ prime minister Jacinda Adern after the Christchurch tragedy, “they are us; such a profound statement and deeply moving.”

Citing the Proverb “when asked what is most important, it is people, it is people, it is people,” Temata added, “as a citizen of NZ we want your talents, ideas and you too can contribute to where we are today.”

Marijoe Manlangit has also resided on the island for 17 years and was overwhelmed by the occasion.

“All my family are citizens, it is a privilege, thank you to family, friends and my employer Don Dorrell for your kind support,” she said.

The new Kiwis include: Sofia Rose Vea, Andrea Kai George, Panipasa Gade and Uikelotu Vea. – Melina Etches

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