The Ghandour family, newly-sworn New Zealand citizens (from left) Abdullah (25), Amani (19), Eman (17), Ala (15), Abed (12), Nadia (24), Nedal Qur'an (44) and Dr Ahmad Ghandour (53) in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
A large Jordanian family living in Dunedin became New Zealand
citizens yesterday to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle, the freedom
to be yourself - and overpriced sweets.
Dr Ahmed ''Jordie'' Ghandour said when he visited New Zealand
on a business trip in 2005 he knew it was the country where
he wanted to live.
''I thought, this is the place I want to be if I get the
Later that year, he got his opportunity when he took an
information science lecturing position at the University of
Otago and settled in Dunedin with his wife, Nedal Qur'an.
They were joined by their four daughters and two sons over
the next two years, he said.
The ''beautiful'' nature and the ''smiling'' people made
Dunedin a great place to live and raise a family, he said.
Becoming New Zealand citizens meant there was a
responsibility to give back to the city, Dr Ghandour said.
''The ceremony gives us a sense of belonging.''
University of Otago student and eldest son Abdullah Ghandour
said he called New Zealand home but was often homesick for
He was proud of both countries and could not pick a
''It's like asking 'who do you love more. Your wife or your
''There is no answer.''
However, Otago Girls' High School pupil and youngest daughter
Ala Ghandour said the beaches in New Zealand were better than
the ''salty'' Dead Sea in Jordan.
University of Otago student and second eldest daughter Amani
Ghandour said the difference between the countries was the
''Some Kiwis don't wear shoes. Everyone smiles at you and you
can ask somebody for directions.''
In New Zealand, you could ''be yourself'' because New
Zealanders were less judgemental than Jordanians, she said.
People could also gain their independence earlier in New
Zealand because of work opportunities, she said.
In Jordan, parents needed to support their children
financially for longer, Miss Ghandour said.
Balmacewen Intermediate pupil and youngest child Abed
Ghandour said he enjoyed playing fullback for his Kaikorai
Rugby Club team, but $1 bought more sweets in Jordan.
''It will buy you enough lollies for a week.''
The other new citizens were: Marcelo Martinez (Argentina);
John Bartlett (Australia); Katherine Falcous; Emma McKenzie,
Martin McKenzie, Elaine McKenzie, Coyla Rutherford, Jonathan
Wagstaff, Nicola Wagstaff, Alex Wagstaff, Sally Woodward
(Britain); Mina Geris (Egypt); Lodewijk Bouma (The
Netherlands); Sinead Holmes (Ireland); Ramon Mendez,
Filipinas Rodriguez, Ruel Rodriguez, Chantal Rodriguez,
Chandra Rodriguez, Chandler Rodriguez, Chanelle Rodriguez
(Philippines); Chantel Tarr, Kirk Tarr, Courtney Tarr (South
Africa); Hsin-Yao Lee (Taiwan); Quentin Furlong, Aislinn
Furlong, Ruth Macklin, Dan Mornin, Elizabeth Mornin, Charles
Mornin, (United States); Deon Mamu (Zimbabwe).