Citizenship shows 'commitment'

Justice of the Peace Brian Coutts conducts a private citizenship ceremony for Zezaf Soliman on...
Justice of the Peace Brian Coutts conducts a private citizenship ceremony for Zezaf Soliman on Friday. Photo by Dan Hutchinson.
Zezaf Soliman (82) was all smiles on Friday as she was sworn in as a New Zealand citizen.

The Egyptian woman is the last member of her family to officially tie the knot with their adopted country, ending an 11-year transition from one side of the world to the other.

At a private ceremony in Dunedin South MP Clare Curran's office, her daughter Iman Attia and Mrs Attia's husband Zaki Mansour were able to share the moment.

Mrs Attia said they came here because of the clean environment and the small population and they thought it would be a good place for their two sons to grow up.

They had lived in Christchurch for most of that time, shifting to Dunedin at the beginning of last year so their eldest son could study pharmacy at the University of Otago.

''We are all happy she was granted citizenship. She had permanent residency but she wanted to get citizenship to show her commitment.''

Although earthquakes have made their transition to New Zealand more than a little rocky, Mrs Attia said they appreciated the political stability of their adopted country.

Egypt is going through a major social and political upheaval at the moment as the country works towards a new constitution, while also dealing with an economic crisis.

''We are so worried about what is going on because it is the place where we were brought up.

''I am very optimistic. It has to get bad before it gets better.''

She said they had never lost their links in Egypt and even though the family had moved they still had friends there.

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