New Zealand’s Acting High Commissioner to Cook Islands Rachel Bennett led her first and last New Zealand Citizenship ceremony at Ngatipa yesterday.
Twelve new “Kiwis” were presented with their Citizenship certificates by Bennett.
They are: Patricia Ah Yuk-Daniel, Ephraim Anselmo, Luseane Cowan, David Holt, Nepote Laudola, Aloiti Makaua, Nurhayati Nurhayati, Simon Posada, Tutu Tekanene, Ranete Teraa, Ni Ni Wynn and Myo Min.
It was a bittersweet but proud moment for Bennett, who will leave her post in September.
She is a Kiwi “through and through” and was privileged to welcome new Kiwis as citizens, she said, but she will carry Cook Islands in her heart forever.
Having weathered the Covid-19 crisis together, it made the bond even stronger in these unprecedented times.
She also shared the history, which dates back to the late 1800s, of the link between the two countries, that explained why Cook Islands people are New Zealand citizens and hold New Zealand passports.
“Kia ora to all our new Kiwis,” she said.
David Holt, who was born in Tasmania, spoke of his love for New Zealand and Rarotonga, the place he and his partner Marisa Newman had chosen to raise their children George, Grace and Eve.
“In these times it makes me immensely proud that our governments have chosen people, over money, in both New Zealand and Cook Islands,” he said.