Acknowledge special guests:
Hon Peter Dunne, Minister of Internal Affairs – it is fantastic to have the Minister here in person. Usually a welcome to our new citizens by video has to suffice, but the Hon Peter Dunne will join me in the presentation to our new citizens today.
Cr Jimmy Chen, Cr David East and Dr Karleen Edwards, CE of the CCC
Hon Ruth Dyson, MP, Dr Megan Woods, MP,Ms Jo Hayes, MP
The Venerable John Sheaf, Vicar General, Anglican Diocese Church of Christchurch representing the Bishop of Christchurch
Mr Jeff Montgomery, Registrar-General, Department of Internal Affairs
Lieutenant Commander Paul Smith – Commanding Officer HMNZS Pegasus
Major Kendal Langston – representing the Commanding Officer 2/4 RNZIR
Inspector Peter Cooper – Christchurch Metro Area Commander NZ Police
Dr Surinder Tandon and Mrs Archna Tandon, Christchurch Multicultural Council - who were recognised in the Sensational Selwyn Awards 2016 last night.
Today is a special day. Not only are you to become New Zealand citizens, you are doing so in a city that is honouring its 160th anniversary with this special ceremony.
On this day, 160 years ago, Queen Victoria signed the Royal Charter that officially established Christchurch as New Zealand’s first city.
That was 16 years after Queen Victoria signed the Treaty of Waitangi – the foundation of our nationhood and citizenship.
So although this is your special day becoming citizens, it is our special day as a city, when we reflect on our place in our nation’s history.
Just as the story of your lives and the journey that brought you here is being added to the Christchurch Story, our city is beginning a new chapter in that story too – New Zealand’s oldest city is becoming our nation’s newest city.
But as we know from our experience, it is not just the buildings, places and spaces that define us as a city. It is the people who live here, who shape the character of this city.
We have been through a lot over the past 6 years and for many that chapter in their journey is not yet over, but there is no-one who doesn’t want to seize the opportunity we now have to write the next chapters together.
We have the opportunity to grow, a perfect metaphor for a Garden City: we have the opportunity to connect, we are an international gateway city as well as a destination; and we have the opportunity to find balance – something that is so precious when we see what is happening in the world.
An inclusive city, where people’s dreams can come true, no matter where you have come from or what you believe – a place where anything is possible.
And you are each and every one of you a part of the Christchurch Story.
Today we celebrate both the past and future of this city.
Mayor’s Personal congratulations
May I be the first to officially congratulate you as New Zealand citizens. I hope you will always remember this occasion as a special day – the 160th anniversary of the founding of Christchurch.
I remember the celebration that marked the 150th anniversary at the Christchurch Town Hall, which is where we will once again hold citizenship ceremonies when it re-opens just before our 162nd anniversary.
At the 150th I spoke as the Minister of Women’s Affairs. I remarked that Christchurch was a city of “firsts”, and not just because we were New Zealand’s first city.
From my perspective, I reflected that our city produced the first woman MP, the first woman Cabinet Minister, the first Maori woman Cabinet Minister and New Zealand’s first Premier, who of course wasn’t a woman – women couldn’t vote in 1856.
But Christchurch became the heart of the Women’s Suffrage movement that would ensure this, too, would be overcome in time and gained us a first as a nation – the first to grant women the right to vote.
There are three ceremonies that I particularly enjoy being involved in as Mayor.
External Awards ceremonies that honour individuals, teams, communities or groups for outstanding performance, acts of bravery or special achievements. I love hearing their stories and honouring their successes and achievements.
I love our own Civic Awards that represent special dedication to the city. And again listening to the stories of what has driven such dedication. It is always a privilege to be able to thank them on behalf of a grateful city.
And the other ones are the citizenship ceremonies that I preside over each month starting each year on our national day, Waitangi Day.
Waitangi Day is a day where we reflect on our bi-cultural nationhood, derived from the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which has enabled us to celebrate the diversity of the multi-cultural society that we have become today.
I have long made the point that each one of us or our ancestors made a journey to make New Zealand home - by waka, by ship or by plane - it is that journey that we all have in common and that is one of the foundation stones of our nation.
There is a story behind each of those journeys.
And it is in sharing those stories that enables us to build understanding and enduring relationships, which together create unity. And it is the culmination of those stories that adds another chapter to our history as a nation.
In Maori you will hear the expression ' tūrangawaewae ' literally ' a place to stand '. A place where we feel especially empowered and connected - our place in the world – a place to call home.
Some of you have had to give up your citizenship of your place of birth in order to take up citizenship here.
Let me say that as new citizens none of you severs your ties with your home of birth; you bring your language, your culture and your history with you and you nurture them in your children.
And we, the wider community, are all enriched by your experience and all that you bring with you.
And you gain another home – a place to stand – as a citizen of New Zealand.
Ngā mihi nui me te aroha nui. Congratulations and best wishes.
Kia ora, kia kaha. Go well and be strong.
No reira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena ra tatou katoa.