The Warehams are all now ‘true blue’ Kiwis and have a certificate to prove it.
Sandra Wareham affirmed her allegiance to New Zealand at a citizenship ceremony in Hastings this month, and could not be happier.
She and husband Stephen moved from North London to Hawke’s Bay in 2011 with their three children Vinnie, Kayleigh and Breeze. Courtesy of his New Zealander father, Stephen already had citizenship and therefore the three children did too.
But Sandra had to wait for the prerequisite five years before applying for citizenship. The ceremony and her newly-bestowed citizenship were worth the wait, she said. She was one of 31 to be granted citizenship last week [July 19], receiving her certificate and a kowhai tree to mark the occasion.
“I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was very special. We were all introduced individually which was much nicer than all as a group; Kahurangi [Maori Dance Theatre] performed, and Acting Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and Hastings Ambassador Henare O’Keefe oversaw the ceremony.”
The number of different ethnicities was also a surprise. “There were people from Samoa, Cambodia, South Africa, India . . . some in their national costume. There was a real array of us.”
Hastings District Council, like other councils around the country, holds regular citizenship ceremonies on behalf of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They are held in Council’s chambers. Mr O’Keefe said the ceremonies were a real joy to host.
“Our new citizens are so grateful and humble to have our city and its residents open up their hearts and minds to them; no questions asked.
“And we do welcome them; there is no doubt that they are adding to the colour and culture of our wonderful district.”
Gaining citizenship was the ‘icing on the cake’ of a wonderful Hawke’s Bay lifestyle for the Warehams.
They are loving their Haumoana lifestyle, enjoying the village feel, the local school their children attend, and their spectacular sea view.
“I’ve never lived by the sea. It is so different from London; there you drive hours to see the sea and it’s brown, cold and a bit disappointing,” said Sandra.
“Here the weather is great even in winter; and the sea is beautiful.”
In their leisure time the family enjoys walking the cycle/walkway tracks, playing on the beach and looking after their sizable section – and of course tending to their family which has grown to seven with the arrival of twins Layla and Rockley six months ago.
The two were very successful chefs in London, Sandra with the esteemed Royal Navy and Military Club and Stephen in the Queen Mother’s kitchen for a time. Sandra’s family remains in the UK and that is a pull – however “there is skype and I’ve been able to go back twice in the six years we have been here”.
But for all that, they are staying. “There are things we miss but being here is pretty special; we’re bringing up Kiwi kids – they already have a bit of a twang,” said Sandra.
4 October 2017
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