Freedom of the City

This page describes the process of granting Freedom of the City.

Granting of the Freedom of the City to the Kapi Mana Air Training Corps on 28 May 2005.

The granting of the Freedom of the City is a rare and honourable occasion.

Only three units have been granted this privilege in the past: the TS Taupo Unit, and two visiting United States Marine units that served in Porirua during the Second World War.

History

The granting of the Freedom of the City is steeped in early English history and goes back to the troublesome days of the Tudors, Stuarts and Oliver Cromwell.

In those early days the citizens of thickly populated and wealthy cities and boroughs often had real reason to fear armed bands marching through the streets.

There wasn’t quite the respect for the "rule of law" then as there is today, and often armed bands took money, clothing and rations by force.

To safeguard Councils and citizens against surprise attack, bylaws were enacted forbidding the marching in the streets with "drums beating and arms bared."

Permission to do so was a rarely granted privilege and only went to those who had shown loyalty and support to the city.

Though many years have passed since Cromwell’s time, the privileges conferred by the granting of the Freedom of the City still remain, and are rarely granted.

The 41 (Kapi Mana) Squadron

The 41 (Kapi Mana) Squadron was granted the "Freedom of our City" on Saturday 28 May 2005.

Over the past 25 years, the Squadron has served the community loyally and well, and 1500 people aged 13 to 18 have passed through their ranks. They have come from every ethnic and socio-economic group in the city and are a credit to themselves and our community. Many have gone on to serve New Zealand in the Armed Services.

Some of the activities performed by the Squadron include providing guards for ANZAC Day observances at Whenua Tapu and the Peace Memorial, support for national events, such as the Battle of Britain Day, D-Day and Commonwealth Day celebrations. The Squadron also provides training, discipline, teamwork, a sense of purpose, well being and direction, all important attributes for instilling in our young people. They have also taught important skills in first aid, bush craft, survival skills, cooking, clothing care and care for the environment, and proven to be loyal citizens of Porirua City.

Freedom of the City

On 28 May 2005, the City formally acknowledged the commitment of the Squadron to Porirua by bestowing the "Freedom of the City", giving the right to:

"March through the city with drums beating, bands playing, colours flying, bayonets fixed and swords drawn."

In return, the Unit will in future be known as "41 (City of Porirua) Squadron".

This designation now features on the brassard and forms part of the Unit's uniform on all official occasions.

The Ceremony

The Freedom of the City Ceremony consisted of a formal Challenge where the parade was challenged as it approached the reviewing area. Her Worship the Mayor was formally invited to inspect and address the Parade. The Freedom of the City Charter was blessed by Kaumatua Mr Robert Solomon, and the Mayor presented the Charter to the Squadron Leader.

The Squadron then presented the Trieste Union Jack into the care of the City with the words:

"Your Worship, we entrust this flag, the Union Jack flown from the first armoured vehicle into Trieste, Northern Italy by the New Zealand Division, into the safe custody of the Citizens of Porirua as a recognition of trust and association."

Dedication and Presentation of the Standard

The Standard was uncased, unfurled and laid across the Drums, and then dedicated with prayers by the RNZAF Base Ohakea Chaplain.

The Mayor then presented the City of Porirua flag to the Standard Bearer. This will become the Unit Standard. It is believed to be the first time such an honour has been bestowed upon a Unit of the New Zealand Cadet Forces. It is the first time the City of Porirua has honoured any group in this way.

The Standard Bearer returned to the parade as the Band played the Royal National Anthem. The Squadron then paraded before advancing in Review Order, while the Band played the National Anthem.

Following the presentation of an award to a member of the Unit, the Mayor called for Three Cheers for the Squadron, which then reformed and departed the parade area.

Freedom of the City of Porirua

Steeped in history, the presentation of the Freedom of the City acknowledges the special relationship of goodwill and trust that exits between the City and the receiving Unit. This is the wording on the Charter:


Whereas the Mayor, Councillors and Citizens of the City of Porirua, being sensible of the honourable record and traditions of 41 (City of Porirua) Squadron, and being desirous of recognising, cementing and fostering the intimate associations which are now and have for so long been enjoyed between the City and the Squadron in which so many of its sons and daughters have been proud to serve,

Now Therefore the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Porirua do hereby confer upon the said Squadron the right and privilege without further permission being obtained of marching with drums beating, bands playing, colours flying, bayonets fixed and swords drawn through the streets of the City of Porirua, And

Do Hereby accept the honour of visiting 41 (City of Porirua) Squadron once in each year for the purpose of an inspection by the Mayor, And

Do Hereby accept the further honour of two members of the said Squadron in uniform in attendance upon the Mayor on important Official occasions.

The Common Seal of the City of Porirua was hereto affixed pursuant to a resolution of the Council this 25th day of May 2005.


Sources:

Speech by Her Worship the Mayor and the Ceremony booklet