A piece of paper does not make me a Kiwi

By Ellan Vannin

We as New New Zealanders; born in our wonderful ?Kiwiland? as my family affectionately call New Zealand, are born into our traditions, our culture, our history and our way of life. Whether you are descended from the Maori who arrived by canoe, or the Pioneers who came by sailing ship, the ten-pound Poms and the refugees escaping the ravages of political turmoil in Europe; we all proudly love and adore our far-flung land and our wee slice of heaven under the Southern Stars.

It is not something we feign: we FEEL it. Even if we move away and live elsewhere, our hearts are back in Kiwiland and our home is our homeland.
We are like kids who strike out and marry and move from the family home. We still remember the warmth of the childhoods we were blessed with and the joy of being a member of one of the smallest family groups on the planet.

The smell of the roast lamb and roast spuds, the homemade mint sauce, the pikelets and scones, the aroma of the kitchen on a Sunday morning after Sunday school and the excitement of Bonfire night.

As a Kiwi, I support the All Blacks, will always support the All Blacks and will always KNOW that Kiwi Lamb is the best in the world; that spuds and kumara are essential to a ?feed? and, if we want to eat a meal and not leave hungry, we eat at home.

Newcomers come from other cultures and cannot possibly feel the same as we do eating a good hangi or a decadent roast with lashings of gravy. Nor can we expect them to.
But can we ask them at least to try?

I look at the words spoken at the Kiwi Citizenship Ceremony and shake my head. I love the Queen. I am a staunch Monarchist. But this is about becoming a Kiwi, not a Monarchist. quote

?I (say your name) swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of New Zealand, her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of New Zealand and fulfil my duties as a New Zealand citizen. So help me God?. end quote

Well, that is very patriotic, isn?t it?

When a nation welcomes you with open arms and invites you to be part of the family, it is a massive honour and privilege. It is an opportunity to leave your past behind and make a fresh start in a new country.
Where are the passion and the commitment to becoming a Kiwi? Where is the emotion-driven pledge to become one of us?

Maybe it is time to change the words at the Citizenship ceremony and make them more of a pledge of loyalty, of love and of embracing the new family who has welcomed you.

When one gets married, there are words that seek Union. A celebration of two becoming one. Of shared commitments, ideals and goals. Of shared beliefs and aspirations.

Why is it so different from citizenship? Is it because becoming a citizen these days is a marriage of convenience and not one of love?

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