New Zealand will be welcoming 24 new citizens on Waitangi Day, which is on Saturday, at the Government House. It will also acknowledge more than 27,000 people who were granted citizenship in 2015 during the same event.

“Choosing to become a New Zealand citizen is a big decision, especially if an individual has to give up their original citizenship or links to another country” quoted Jeff Montgomery, General Manager for Births Deaths Marriages & Citizenship, Department of Internal Affairs, as saying. “I am very proud that the Department of Internal Affairs has been able to assist over 27,000 people to make this choice and declare New Zealand their home and country”.

He added that choosing to be a Kiwi is a very tough decision especially if the person is giving up their original citizenship to another country.

In 2015, New Zealand celebrated more than 500 citizenship ceremonies. Tomorrow, Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae will be hosting a citizenship ceremony at the Government House to welcome the 24 new citizens.

Hamilton and Onuku Marae in Akaroa will also hold citizenship ceremonies of Waitangi Day.

“The Waitangi Day ceremony provides a visible link between New Zealand’s founding document and modern day citizenship,” Montgomery was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald. “The people who are attending these ceremonies with friends and family will remember it as a very special day.”

Choice Whiriwhiria, the New Zealand Citizenship story book, was launched by the Department of Internal Affairs in 2015. This book is presented to each new citizen on the citizenship day as a memento. The book contains all sorts of information on New Zealand and on the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“Choice Whiriwhiria showcases the backgrounds and challenges faced by many new citizens while also recognising the incredible contribution that they continue to make to New Zealand communities,” Montgomery said.