New citizens on Waitangi Day

02:11, Feb 07 2014
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LABOUR: The Labour Party arrive at Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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HIKOI: The Hokoi arrives at Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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Prime Minister John Key and Hekia Parata during the dawn service held at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
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SERVICE: Dawn service held at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
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FLAG: Dawn service held at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
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WELCOME: Prime Minister John Key is welcomed onto Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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PROTEST: Wairata Te One One is escorted from Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14
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Prime Minister John Key is lead onto Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14
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FISH: One of the hikoi marchers Joel Bristow, a son in law of Labour MP Shane Jones, who threw fish in front of Prime Minister John Key as he left Te Tii Marea in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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Awaiting waka during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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ALERT: Waka on the horizon - Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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PUKANA: Waka arrive during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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HEARTY WELCOME: Waka regatta during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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RAPAKI FLAGS: Michael Parata-Peiffer putting NZ flags up at Rapaki Marae this Waitangi Day.
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Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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BRIDGE: Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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TIMARU: Sophie 3 and Oliver Greenville-Jones 3 who are visiting from Oxford (UK) with the poi they have just been helped to make at the Te Ana Waitangi Family Fun Day. Sophie and Oliver are staying with their Grandparents in Timaru.
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FORESHORE: Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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BE STILL: Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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WARRIOR: Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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BEATING THE RETREAT: Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae at the Beating the Retreat ceremony held at the treaty grounds in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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MARCH: Beating the Retreat ceremony held at the treaty grounds in Waitangi 5.2.14.
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TIMARU: Sue Eddington of Te Ana and Scarlett Evered 6 of Timaru with her flags at Te Ana Waitangi Family Fun Day.
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BRING IN THE HIKOI: A hikoi heads to the treaty grounds during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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UPPING THE ANTI: A hikoi heads to the treaty grounds during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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FIRED UP: A hikoi arrives at the treaty grounds during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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VOICE: A hikoi arrives at the treaty grounds during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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FLAGS HIGH: A hikoi arrives at the treaty grounds during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi.
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Waka regatta during Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi
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THEATRICS: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations at Kaiapoi, Canterbury.
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DUCHESS: Kaiapoi Waitangi Day, Canterbury. Self appointed, the Duchess of North Canterbury Janett McIsaac graced the day with her presence.
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THEATRE GROUP: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations Kaiapoi, Canterbury.
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TREATY SKIT: Kaiapoi Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations.
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FAMILY DAY: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations Kaiapoi, Canterbury.
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KAPA HAKA: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations Kaiapoi, Canterbury. Kaiapoi North School Kapa Haka group.
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PUKAEA: Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Manawa. Hikoi from Te Marae Hine (the square) to Te Manawa. Leading the Hikoi is Horomono Horo blows the pukaea , it was used to welcome people and announce events or occasions of importance, and was also a war trumpet.
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Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Manawa. WEAVE: Volunteer Pearl Henry helps Lanyah Latu(4) with some flax weaving.

Beyond the gates to Rapaki Marae, 16-month-old Osas Ogbah waited for his uncle to become a citizen.

The crowd had filtered in and taken their seats outside the marae’s whare on Banks Peninsula. It was where 25 men, women and children from 11 different countries would each swear an allegiance to their new home on Waitangi Day. 

It was the first time the marae had hosted a citizenship ceremony.

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RAPAKI FLAGS: Michael Parata-Peiffer putting NZ flags up at Rapaki Marae this Waitangi Day.
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CITIZENSHIP: Yamin 3 and Leena 5 Daradkeh from Jordan at the Waitangi Day citizenship ceremony at Rapaki, Canterbury.
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ONE LOVE: New Citizenship celebration at Rapaki Marae on Waitangi Day Te Amo Rangi aged 2 greets Osas Ogbah 16 months from Nigeria.
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THEATRICS: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations at Kaiapoi, Canterbury.
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DUCHESS: Kaiapoi Waitangi Day, Canterbury. Self appointed, the Duchess of North Canterbury Janett McIsaac graced the day with her presence.
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THEATRE GROUP: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations Kaiapoi, Canterbury.
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TREATY SKIT: Kaiapoi Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations.
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FAMILY DAY: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations Kaiapoi, Canterbury.
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KAPA HAKA: Waitangi Day - Family Celebrations Kaiapoi, Canterbury. Kaiapoi North School Kapa Haka group.
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SHAKE ON THAT: NZ new citizens ceremony on Waitangi Day at the Rapaki Marae. Mayor Lianne Dalziel with Christian Ogbah from Nigeria.
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NZ new citizens ceremony on Waitangi Day at the Rapaki Marae Cultural exchange. Te Amo Rangi aged 2 embraces Osas Ogbah 16 months, whose family is from Nigeria.
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HONGI: NZ new citizens ceremony on Waitangi Day at the Rapaki Marae Christian Ogbah from Nigeria in a hongi with Donald Couch of Ngai Tahu.
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NZ new citizens ceremony on Waitangi Day at the Rapaki Marae. Mayor Lianne Dalziel and visitor being welcomed onto the marae.
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NZ new citizens ceremony on Waitangi Day at the Rapaki Marae Welcoming the visitors in.

‘‘Every one of you has your own story to what brought you on this journey here,’’ Mayor Lianne Dalziel told the prospective citizens. ‘‘It is that journey that we all have in common.’’

Osas’ journey had taken him from Lagos, Nigeria to the side of two-year-old Te Amo Rangi. Dalziel said the Treaty of Waitangi helped forge the country’s biculturalism that had given way to its multiculturalism. 

Te Amo edged closer to Osas. Then he gave him a kiss.

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WARM WELCOME: Te Amo Rangi aged 2 with Osas Ogbah, 16 months.

Ngai Tahu representative Nuk Korako said he hoped it would be a day that the new citizens would remember for the rest of their lives.

It was a day about partnership, old and new, he said – and the timing, the location and the day were all significant. 

For Reham Bani Baker and her daughter Lureen it was significant as the end of a journey that started six years ago, when they came to New Zealand from northern Jordan. 

Bani Baker had followed her husband Mohammad Daradkeh. Their former home was one of the main entry points for refugees fleeing conflict in Syria. the Syrian civil war brought more challenges to  a town which was already struggling with the resources to caterfor its citizens the Syrian civil war brought more challenges. 

Daradkeh first came out to study computer science at Lincoln University. Then he got a job teaching there. 

‘‘With any conflict it is always the normal people like us that become the victims and it is people like us who can’t do anything about it,’’ said Daradkeh. ‘‘So it is better to try and stay away. So we are here.’’

It was significant for Menuka De Alwis and wife Jayathri Pathirana because when they first came to New Zealand there was a civil war erupting in their home country of Sri Lanka.

‘‘It is very peaceful here. It is a dream country and now we have our wish.’’

It was significant for Raazesh Sainudiin because he had lived in the United States and in the United Kingdom, but it was New Zealand where he wanted his children to grow up. He and his wife had met while he was studying mathematics at Cornell University in New York state. As soon as his children arrived they started singing the national anthem in the shower. That was six years ago. Now he is teaching at the University of Canterbury.

‘‘It was optimal to raise them here,’’ Sainudiin said.

Dalziel handed each of them a certificate and a native tree as a symbol of their new country.

‘‘You bring your land with you,’’ she said. ‘‘And now you have another home.’’

They would leave Rapaki as New Zealand citizens, she said.

For Osas’ uncle, Christian Ogbah, it was significant because it felt like home. The clinical social worker had come from Nigeria for a ‘‘better life’’ and had been able to sponsor his brother and his family, including Osas, to come to New Zealand. 

Even wearing traditional Nigerian garb, including wearing beads passed down from generations before, Ogbah said he had always felt like a Cantabrian. 

He had spent time in Auckland and on the West Coast but there was something about this part of the country that felt right.

‘‘I feel grateful. I have awesome friends, a great career,’’ Ogbah said. 

‘‘Now I can officially say I am a Kiwi. I am from Otautahi.’’

The Press