14.6 Citizenship ceremonies
The Department of Internal Affairs makes decisions on citizenship but local authorities host citizenship ceremonies. Local authorities host citizenship ceremonies on behalf of the Department of Internal Affairs.
Under the council’s allocation of decision-making, citizenship ceremonies are the responsibility of local boards as part of their planning, policy and governance activities. As a representative of the local authority, the chairperson of the local board is able to administer the Oath or the Affirmation of Allegiance.
The number of citizenship ceremonies Auckland Council organises depends upon the number of candidates applying and the location in which the candidates reside. The ceremonies are held between monthly and quarterly.
The format of ceremonies varies slightly depending on the preferences of the local board. Typically they include:
- karakia, and mihi by Kaumatua
- local board chairperson address/welcome
- kapa haka
- administration of oath or affirmation of allegiance to candidates
- video message from the Governor General, Minister of Internal Affairs and the Mayor
- final blessing by Kaumatua
- light refreshments
The ceremony’s focus is to celebrate and acknowledge the new citizen’s commitment to New Zealand. Local board members, ward councillors and the mayor are invited to attend and form part of the official party on the presentation stage.