Citizenship ceremony at Tuahiwi Marae a feature of Waitangi Day

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Waimakariri Mayor David Ayers is looking forward to welcoming new citizens today, Waitangi Day.

In a first for the district, the Waimakariri Mayor will conduct a citizenship ceremony alongside Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel at Tuahiwi Marae on New Zealand’s national day.

While he is looking forward to the ceremony, Mr Ayers says he regrets it means he is unable to conduct his regular duties at Kaiapoi’s Waitangi Day celebration, where he will be represented by Deputy Mayor Kevin Felstead.

“Last year Te Maire Tau and I spoke at Kaiapoi, but we will both at Tuahiwi. But it’s a very important day for New Zealanders.”

The ceremony will get under way at 9.30am, with the guests, including Mr Ayers and wife Marilyn, Ms Dalziel, Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey and councillors from both districts, being welcomed by a powhiri and escorted on to the marae.

Following the powhiri and morning tea, Ngai Tuahiriri runanga upoko Te Maire Tau will speak about the significance of the ceremony being held at Tuahiwi and the collaboration between the two councils.

Mr Ayers will then speak before bestowing citizenship on about a dozen new citizens in the Waimakariri district, before Ms Dalziel presents citizenships to new citizens in Christchurch.

Mr Doocey will also read a letter from the Minister of Internal Affairs, before the singing of the National Anthem and a karakia and followed by a hangi lunch.

While a Waitangi Day citizenship ceremony is new for the Waimakariri district, in recent years Christchurch has hosted ceremonies at various locations including Okains Bay, Rapaki and Onuku maraes.