Wednesday 15 March 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National
Hereani Amo, Teraibwebwe Banian, Jimmy David Edwards, Joseva Lasaganibau, Robin (Rob) Paul McBride, Telesia Vaimana Gerlinda Lu’isa Falekakala Paseka-Arere, Mark John Tatam and Loni Vanila took the Oath of Allegiance, receiving their certificates from the Aotearoa New Zealand High Commissioner, Her Excellency Tui Dewes.
Roderick Alan Dixon’s certificate was also presented in his absence.
During her welcoming address, High Commissioner Dewes noted that the citizenship ceremony is just one example of many things that Aotearoa New Zealand can be proud of, a place where you want to link your identity.
“We are a nation of diversity… we were the first country in the world back in 1893 that gave women the right to vote; among the first group of countries in the world to legalise same sex marriage…” said Dewes.
Today Aotearoa New Zealand and the Cook Islands share a deep relationship, she added.
Telesia Paseka-Arere spoke on behalf of the new citizens, “it is an honour and a privilege to receive this citizenship today,” she said.
Paseka-Arere arrived to the Cook Islands in March 2008 from Tonga, she lived in Aitutaki where she learnt to speak Aitutakian fluently, got married in 2009 and has two sons.
“I’ve built my home here and now this, what more could I ask for.
“This is one of the best moments, to have this right now is overwhelming, I thank the lord for all his guidance as well as my family, friends and my husband in New Zealand,” said Paseka-Arere.
Robin (Rob) McBride has lived in the Cook Islands for almost thirty years, “we’ve been living here most of our lives as kids going to school,” he says.
In 2008 McBride received his Cook Islands permanent residency, on receiving his New Zealand citizenship he says, “I feel really privileged and honoured, and finally officially I’m a kiwi.”
Hereani Amo from Tahiti has lived in the Cook Islands since 2011 at the age of 14 when she attended Nukutere College to learn English.
“It feels amazing to receive my citizenship, and I filled in my application on my own and so I feel quite proud.
“Life is simple here and the people are nice and much more relaxed,” says Amo.
Joseva Lasaganibau has been living on the island for 21 years, “this is an honour and I respect the people and the culture,” he said.
Proceedings at the event were opened by the emcee Deputy High Commissioner Helèna Cook, the opening pure was delivered by Reverend Teava Nanai, and the High Commission staff sang the Aotearoa New Zealand national anthem and the waiata - Tutira Mai joined by the guests.