He was elected during the society’s 2016 AGM on 20 February.
Sir John has lived in Italy for several years and is a fluent Italian speaker. He is married to Fiorella Tomasi, one of the society’s volunteers and a teacher for the Dante Italian school for children.
“As a holder of both a New Zealand and Italian passport I am honoured and keen to offer my services to the Dante Society of Auckland, whose mission is to promote the Italian language and culture in New Zealand and to cultivate fellowship between Italians and New Zealanders of all backgrounds,” said Kirwan.
“John has been a supporting member of the society for many years now, and we are delighted to have him on our committee holding the president’s position,” said immediate past president Massimo Ciccioni.
The Dante Alighieri Society of Auckland (Società Dante Alighieri Auckland) is a registered charity and Italian language school, affiliated to the international Società Dante Alighieri with headquarters in Rome, Italy.
The Auckland chapter, based at Freemans Bay Community Centre, has been active since 1960 and organises language courses for adults and children, as well as cultural and community events like the Festival Italiano in Newmarket.
Membership to the Dante Society is open to all, Italians and non-Italians. The Society is run by volunteers.