The Auckland Council is incorporating te reo into its citizenship ceremony after an Australian woman has requested to take her oath in Māori.
Natalie Evans, originally of Australia, will officially become a New Zealand citizen tonight at Auckland’s Town Hall, alongside 510 other candidates.
She asked to recite her oath and affirmation in Māori and her request inspired the Auckland Council to make some major changes to the ceremony.
The new citizens will say the oath and affirmation first in English followed by an option of saying it in Māori, with the words displayed onto a screen.
“I was surprised that it wasn’t initially offered and it’s something I had to request. Te reo Māori is immersed in this land. If you don’t have an understanding of this, how can you understand this place?” Evans says.
Evans has been living in New Zealand for nine years. She is embracing her new home and its Māori culture.
“The language is a treasure. If we don’t carry it on, it could be lost.”
Karem Colmenares of the Auckland Council says the change is a positive step and will be offered at future ceremonies.
“This is the perfect way for our new citizens to start their new lives as New Zealanders,” she says.