The Maltese Association of Wellington
by Anthony Micallef
LEST WE FORGET: It was in 1988 that a first group
tried to organise itself ill Wellington. We met in
Brooklyn and started what we considered as a small
social group presided by Mrs. Carmen Niven nee
Dalli. We had sporadic socials organised over die
next few years consisting mainly of Bring a Plate of
finger foods at each other's houses. The number of
Maltese in this group was then about 14 and stayed
at this until early in 1997 when Mrs Dalli handed
over the presidency as she could not carry on.
At this time if there was nobody willing to take
over our small association would have become defunct
but fortunately the then secretary from inception
accepted the role of president. Thus Mr Anthony
Micallef took over in May and started a new era for
the Maltese Association.
When Mr Anthony Micallef was appointed officially by
the then Maltese High Commissioner Mr George
Busuttil he started plans for the association to
become an incorporated society.
A few weeks later we received as a guest our
Honorary Consul Mrs Patricia Thake from Auckland and
plans were then started on the distribution of
KINNIE here in Wellington, the starting of a
regular newsletter The Maltese Wellingtonian which
is send out every 6 to 8 weeks to all the members of
The Maltese Association and also to the members of
The Friends of Malta Society New Zealand an umbrella
group for the association made mainly of X
Servicemen from The Second World War.
A special meeting was held in St Francis Xavier
School in Tawa on 21 St September 1997, a committee
formed a constitution presented and application for
the association to become an incorporated society
presented to the authorities, hi December we then
became known as The Maltese Association of
Since then our membership has continually kept
increasing. Funds were always obtained through kind
donations from members and grants from various
organizations as we have a free membership. The new
group has always made it an effort to organise
quarterly reunions for its members coinciding with
Maltese Public Holidays and An Annual General
Meeting every September an audited account is passed
of our expenses mainly related to the production of
our newsletter which is our vehicle of information
to all our members.
Most of The Maltese in Wellington were invited for a
reception with the Maltese President and his
Official Delegation in 1993.His Excellency
Dr.Vincent Tabone and his wife visited New Zealand
and appropriate receptions were held which most of
those invited attended.
At the beginning of 1997 we sadly lost one of our
foundation members a great loss to us, his family
and all the Maltese in New Zealand gentleman Sammy
Zammit passed away and left an emptiness which is
still felt to this day. Many of us all over New
Zealand have fond memories of Sammy and this was
evident in his well attended funeral. An article
about Sammy is on our website.
The beginning of the year 2000 saw the Migrants
Commission in Malta and The Ministry of Foreign
Affairs organise the Millennium Convention for
Volunteer Community Leaders Living Abroad. Sadly the
Maltese Association of Wellington Inc. was not
represented at the same and a golden opportunity for
issues pertaining to the Maltese in New Zealand was
Late in 2000 Mr Paul Vella the PRO of The Reskeon
Society of Melbourne came and visited us in
Wellington. For his radio program Paul Vella
recorded an interview with Mr & Mrs Micallef which
was aired on the allmalta.com airwaves in the week
ending 26th November 2001 which raised the profile
of the Maltese in New Zealand and the issue of The
long awaited Bilateral Agreement between the 2
Since becoming an incorporated society the
association's committee meets every 2 or 3 months.
We also publish The Maltese Wellingtonian every 6 to
8 weeks which is posted to all our members and
friends in New Zealand, Australia and our
representatives in Malta. These include The Maltese
High Commissioner in Canberra Australia, The Maltese
Prime Minister and The Leader of The Opposition
Thanks to our friend in Scotland Mr John J Cassar we
are now on the internet on the allmalta.com website.
This is updated regularly by Mr Cassar and all
information can be read on this website.
Early in 2002 the Association had the opportunity to
host the Then High Commissioner from Malta to New
Zealand Mr Ives Debarro and his wife at St Gerard's
Monastery in Wellington. At this meeting we were
informed of the appointment of Dr Carmen Dalli as
Honorary Consul for Malta in New Zealand for
In August 2002 the Maltese Association was again
called to participate in and organise functions for
a Delegation from Malta which included The Right
Honourable Prime Minister Dr Edward Fenech Adami and
his wife ,The Right Honourable Dr Laurence Gonzi The
Deputy Prime Minister and his wife and Mr Debarro
and his wife.
It was during an official state luncheon at
Parliament in Wellington that Dr Edward Fenech Adami
expressed his wish To The Right honourable Prime
Minister of New Zealand Miss Helen Clark to open up
and ease migration from Malta to New Zealand in the
near future and Miss Clark replied that New Zealand
policy on this subject is open to professionals who
choose to pursue their career in this country.
From these meetings in New Zealand promises of
signing the long awaited agreement between Malta and
New Zealand were also made by both dignitaries of
both countries especially in the Portability Scheme
In early 2003 we received The new High Commissioner
for Malta in New Zealand Dr Ivan Fsadni and his
family at the residence of The Honorary Consul for
Wellington Dr Carmen Dalli. Again the members
present were promised all the assistance required in
the future .
This help included procuring the 50th Anniversary
medal of Malta earning the George Cross medal to Mr
Jesse Freeman Steel who missed receiving it in
1992.Eventually the handing of the medal ceremony
was carried out at Pukerua Bay in July by The
Honorary Consul of Wellington.
In September the Maltese association managed to
arrange a function at Parliament with the Assistance
of The Minister of Ethnic Affairs Mr Chris Carter a
Handing in Ceremony of a ribbon of hand made Gozo
lace for The Ethnic Rock in Parliament an
unforgettable occasion attended by many of its
members from all over New Zealand. This ribbon was
kindly made for us by Mrs Pauline Attard of Gozo a
returned Australian migrant herself.
For further information please contact Mr Anthony
The perseverance of our association with the
assistance of the x-president of the Auckland Malta
Society, Mr. Charles Cini and also thanks to the
support and help of the Honourable Prime Minister of
New Zealand Ms. Helen Clarke. We finally achieved
the long awaited Bilateral Agreement between Malta
and New Zealand signed at Valletta on July 2004.
Now we can boast of being equal to our Maltese
Australian immigrant neighbours across the Tasman.
The agreement has different facets to it but the
most important parts are the Portability of Pension
Schemes, the Working Holiday opportunities and
exchange of Educational Scholarships.
To celebrate this we already have had our first
Scholarship winner Joany Grima, working within the
Maltese Foreign Affairs Ministry helping out with
the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGM)
that was held in Malta in November 2005.
Another achievement for the Maltese Association was
being able to put our Newsletter (our vehicle of
information) on line and thanks to Mr. J J. Cassar
who resides in Scotland one can read all of the
This will be updated bi monthly.
For the past year or so The Maltese Association of
Wellington Inc., has proudly represented Malta on
Europe Day held annually at Wellington in May and
also The Upper Hutt International Festival held
annually in November. Our members have also been
taking part in the Carol Singing Extravaganza held
by the different Ethnic Communities annually at the
Botanic Gardens in Wellington.