Ammerentia Hurter with her baby daughter Harley, seven and a half months old, pictured with Mayor Sam Broughton, at the Waitangi Day citizenship ceremony

Marae venue for ceremony

by Mike Isle

Waitangi Day 2019 was one to remember for 30 new New Zealanders, who became citizens at the first ceremony to be held at Ngati Moki Marae, Taumutu. Te Taumutu Runanga and the people of Ngai Te Ruahikihiki hosted the ceremony on the shores of Lake Ellesmere.

The 30 new citizens represented 12 different nationalities, some from near neighbours like Australia and Tonga, and others from as far afield as the Seychelles, India and the Netherlands.

Selwyn mayor Sam Broughton said the event marked a first for the district.

“The occasion holds extra significance due to being held on Waitangi Day and is an opportunity for those attending to gain a better understanding of local history.”

Ammerentia Hurter, originally from South Africa, said having the ceremony on the marae was a highlight. “It was fantastic, awesome, seeing all the things that happen,” she says. “It was my first time on a marae, and it was very special. I came here with nothing and no one — no family, and I’ve made New Zealand my family.”