New ci­ti­zen gives his oath in te reo

Stratford Press - - News - By ILONA HANNE

An Ital­ian man liv­ing in Strat­ford made his New Zealand cit­i­zen­ship oath of al­le­giance in te reo Ma¯ ori last week.

It was, says Kate Whareaitu, di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity ser­vices at Strat­ford Dis­trict Coun­cil, a first for the dis­trict.

An­to­nio Sal­sano says he asked if it was pos­si­ble to make his dec­la­ra­tion in te reo Ma¯ ori be­cause he wanted to ac­knowl­edge the im­por­tance of the lan­guage in his adopted home­land.

“It’s part of New Zealand, and so I think ev­ery­one liv­ing here should try to learn at least a few words or phrases.”

Be­fore mak­ing his oath, An­to­nio also did his mihi. This was fol­lowed by a wa­iata tau­toko given by stu­dents from Te Kura o Nga Ruahine Rangi where An­to­nio has taught.

Mayor Neil Volzke says it was a mean­ing­ful cer­e­mony.

“The wa­iata tau­toko was both pas­sion­ate and pow­er­ful.”

An­to­nio and his Kiwi wife Marama have lived in New Zealand for 13 years, and he says be­com­ing a ci­ti­zen was a nat­u­ral step for him.

“My wife is from New Zealand, and we live here, so it made sense to be­come a ci­ti­zen.”

Marama and An­to­nio first met in Ger­many, where he was run­ning a restau­rant. They lived there for 15 years be­fore mov­ing to New Zealand.

In to­tal, An­to­nio speaks six lan­guages; his na­tive Ital­ian, English, Ger­man, Span­ish and Turk­ish, and he says learn­ing a lan­guage is a great way to be­come part of where you live.

He and Marama have three chil­dren, all of whom have also learned some te reo Ma¯ ori over the years.

■ An­to­nio was one of nine new cit­i­zens to swear al­le­giance last Wednes­day, with the other new cit­i­zens com­ing from In­dia, Eng­land, Fiji and Samoa.

Back from left: Ni­cholas Le Lean (British), Adam Le Lean (British), Tusi­fo­lau Perenise (Samoan), An­to­nio Sal­sano (Ital­ian), Ronaq Singh (In­dian) and mayor Neil Volzke. Front: Abi­gail Le Lean (British), He­len Le Lean (British), Lata Badoni (In­dian) and Ratika Prasad (Fi­jian).

An­to­nio and some of his sup­port­ers at the cer­e­mony.

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