PHL Embassy joins Filipino community gatherings in Hamilton, New Zealand
As the Philippine Embassy continues to reach out and be one with the Filipino community gatherings in Hamilton, New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and Vice-Consul Glenn Joseph Obach joined the officers and members of the Waikato Filipino Association (WFA) and guests at their “mix and mingle” function at the Sky City Hamilton on 10 July 2015. It was a special evening of lively fellowship and interaction with the officers and members of WFA led by Mr. Jun Valencia and Ms. Gladys Stephens and with Member of Parliament for Hamilton West Tim Macindoe, Councillor Martin Gallagher, Councillor Philip Yang, Ethnic Affairs Advisor Sandra Mackenzie, Ethnic Coordinator Jovy Abellanosa and other distinguished guests from the dairy, business and other sectors. Ambassador Benavidez thanked the WFA for organizing a meaningful event and commended them for their continuing excellent work in assisting the Filipino community, promoting the richness of Filipino culture and contributing to the multicultural enrichment among the wider local communities in Hamilton and the Waikato region. She also reiterated deep appreciation to local officials and guests for their presence and highlighted the deepening people based relationship between the Philippines and New Zealand. Member of Parliament Macindoe, Councillor Gallagher, Councillor Yang and Mr. Valencia spoke on the closeness of people-to-people ties between Filipinos and New Zealanders and the continuing important roles and contributions of Filipinos to the city’s development and ethnic diversity. They cited the Philippine Embassy’s Mobile Consular Services around the North and South Islands as exemplary and reflective of the priority and attention being given by the Philippine Embassy to the welfare and well-being of more than 40,350 Filipinos in New Zealand.
On 12 July 2015, they joined the WFA’s Philippine Independence Day celebration marked by the dual citizenship ceremony and WFA Committee Oath taking held at the Melville Primary School. It was another showcase of Filipino unity and “bayanihan” spirit (volunteerism and coming together for the common good) as Filipino cuisine were prepared for the guests, Filipino songs, dances and music were rendered by young performers, several Filipinos and their families took their oath of allegiance to the Philippines in a dual citizenship ceremony conducted by Vice Consul Obach and the WFA Committee composed of Jun Valencia, Jennifer Gilchrist, Myles Imperial, Gladys Stephens, Fred Ramos, Shirley Bath, Inday Bernal, aurora Campbell, Ritchell Roycroft and Jayson Pascual were inducted into office by Ambassador Benavidez. National day greetings and acknowledgement of the growing Filipino community and the close cooperation and collaboration between the Philippines and New Zealand were highlighted. Ambassador Benavidez and all the guests thanked WFA for their continuing praiseworthy commitment, solidarity, support and caring spirit as well as for promoting the richness of Filipino culture and traditions and for being valuable partners in enhancing closer linkages and connectivity among Filipinos and the wider communities.