New citizen gives his oath in te reo
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.