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Christchurch City Scene
December 2002

Lead Stories

Central city alcohol ban

City set to celebrate 20 years of SummerTimes

Some light summer reading - Council Report for the year to 30 June 2002

Seeing Christchurch through fresh eyes

2002 Environment Awards


Back to the December Index

Seeing Christchurch through fresh eyes

Seeing Christchurch through fresh eyes
Mayor Garry Moore with Yu Jong Chung, whose family has made the decision to become Kiwi. The Chungs emigrated from South Korea.

New citizens bring new sets of eyes for seeing Christchurch positively. If you could choose to live anywhere at all in the world would your choice be Christchurch?

It's an interesting, and challenging, question that came to me just after I had helped out at the last of our four citizenship ceremonies we hold each year for people choosing to become new New Zealand citizens.

It got me wondering just how many people living here by virtue of birth or internal migration would make the same choice.

Would you?

I tend to like to keep it quiet but I grew up in the North Island and chose this city as my home pretty much as soon as I could leave home. So although my forebears were West Coasters I have experienced that process of making a conscious choice to live here.

It provides a very small insight into what must go through the minds of those who make the same choice out of the huge array of global choices that they have available to them.

I think maybe we should start looking at our new citizens with a changed attitude. These are the people who qualify as deliberate citizens.

There is an old saying amongst Catholics that few are as devout as the converts. Like many sayings, it has a firm foundation in fact.

I find that the quarterly citizenship ceremonies here in Christchurch are a powerful, positive reminder of so much that is good about this city. I look forward to taking part each time because I know that I am about to get a chance to look at our city through fresh, and appreciative, eyes. Converts to Christchurch who have chosen to make a major commitment to become part of our still new and forming nation.

Amongst some there are always those who have come here as a safe haven from horrors and levels of fear which we can only barely begin to imagine. They tend to be the ones who tell me that the peace and complete absence of major conflict here are jewels without price they have never experienced before.These are the folk who cherish our peace and quiet with a passion that can only help strengthen these qualities in future.

Then there are others who have made their choice because they are delighted to be able to start making their contribution toward building a truly world-class city in what to them is such a wonderfully unspoiled environment.

There will be others also who first met Christchurch as tourists, went home, found that our memory refused to fade and have given up everything familiar to come here to help build our collective future.

In short, the stories behind the faces will be as varied as the rest of us. The unifying feature will be that they have seen the beauty and goodness of our city and many of its people through new eyes. They also give me a vivid reminder of how we are changing ethnically and culturally as a city.

There are also other reminders to be seen. Earlier this year, at what I persist in calling Hagley High, I was told that there were over 55 different nationalities and ethnic groups attending the school. More recently, at the A&P show where as always the people were one of the main attractions, I was surprised at how much obvious diversity there was amongst the people attending this Canterbury institution. The very new Kiwis were mingling with the more established species. It was rather like seeing the aftermath of the citizenship ceremonies of recent years in action. It would have been fascinating to see the show through the new sets of eyes present. It is a presence I think we should all open our hearts to, and welcome.

As others did for those who came before us.

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