At 6:00pm on a rainy Monday evening, I made my way to the Soundings Theatre at Te Papa, the museum of New Zealand in Wellington. It’s here that the Department of Internal Affairs holds its monthly citizenship ceremonies, and after qualifying for citizenship in August this year, I have finally been invited to take part in a ceremony, the final stage of obtaining New Zealand citizenship.
The ceremony involves swearing allegiance to the Queen of New Zealand, who is the same person as the Queen of the United Kingdom. In my 50 or so years on the planet so far I’ve not been required to swear allegiance to her before – I guess it’s taken as read if you’re a British citizen. But swear I must, so I did. They offer you a religious or non-religious option (you can leave out “so help me God” at the end). I’d considered taking a religious tome along with me – the gospel of the flying spaghetti monster – but I figured they may not take it in quite the spirit intended, so just took the atheist text.