All citizens of the same country now

Wesley Bachur and Dineli Alahakone and their daughter Selah (3) are happy to call themselves New...
Wesley Bachur and Dineli Alahakone and their daughter Selah (3) are happy to call themselves New Zealanders. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Becoming a New Zealand citizen was the achievement of a ''goal'', Wesley Bachur said.

He and his wife, Dineli Alahakone, were among 32 people sworn in as citizens at a ceremony at the Municipal Chambers in Dunedin this week.

Mr Bachur, formerly of the United States, and Ms Alahakone, formerly of Sri Lanka, said they were pleased to share citizenship with their 3-year-old daughter Selah, who was born in New Zealand.

''It feels great that all of us are citizens of the same country now,'' Ms Alahakone said.

''It feels like we are a family.''

''It was a wish to feel I'm rightfully a citizen here,'' Mr Bachur said.

The couple met in the US when Ms Alahakone was studying as a medical physicist.

The pair married in 2006 and due to ''wanderlust'' were drawn to New Zealand in 2008, he said.

The country felt like ''home'', he said.

''You have this experience where you fall in love with the country and then it's like the honeymoon period and you find out everything that's wrong with the country,'' he said, with a laugh.

''Now we have gone through this period where we would find it difficult to move elsewhere.''

They moved to Dunedin last year after holidaying and finding they ''really loved'' the city.

Both work at Dunedin Hospital. Ms Alahakone trains medical physicists and Mr Bachur works in patient affairs.

The couple said they were looking forward to their daughter growing up in their adopted home.

''I'm really happy she's going to be going to school here,'' Ms Alahakone said.

Other new citizens were. - Alice Lloyd-Fitt (Australian British); Fionnuala Bulman, Kim Hamel, John Philip Mottershead, Naomi Mottershead, Thomas Mottershead, John William Abraham Mottershead, Stephen Parkinson, Gillian Peart, Claudia Tate, Lucy Tate, Samuel Tate, Andrew Taylor (British); Mei Hong (Chinese); Celestino Feliciano, Filipina Feliciano, Ana Feliciano, Juan Feliciano, Kristofer Feliciano (Filipino); Kirsten Andreae, Sebastian Clar (German); Atheer Al-Mousa, Zainab Al-Zaghir, Qaswar Al-Mousa, Jaafar Al-Mousa, Durar Al-Mousa, Ahmed Sadik (Iraqi); Mian Aslam (Pakistani); Andre Smith, Suzanne Smith (South African).

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