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It was love which brought Angelina Galdeman from Italy to Dunedin more than half a century ago, and it was love which encouraged her to stay and officially become a New Zealand citizen yesterday.
The 81-year-old Italian said she was a young woman when she met the love of her life at a party near her home in Conco, northern Italy.
She quite literally bumped into a young Giulio Galdeman (87), who was visiting family members in the area.
He was born in Italy, but moved to Dunedin with his parents when he was 1. His father was a builder who helped construct such buildings as the Central Fire Station and Speight's Brewery.
After attending the Rome Olympics in 1960, he decided to spend a few months with Italian relatives near Conco, where by chance, he met Mrs Galdeman, and, "It was love at first sight - that's amore," she said.
The couple dated for seven months before marrying in Italy. But soon after, they were physically separated.
"He had to come back to New Zealand because his mother wanted him to paint the house," she said.
A short time later, she followed her heart and came to Dunedin to join her new husband.
After raising three children, six grandchildren, and growing to love New Zealand like her own country, Mrs Galdeman felt it was time to become a New Zealand citizen.
Yesterday, she was one of 38 people who became New Zealand citizens during a citizenship ceremony performed by Mayor Dave Cull at the Skeggs Gallery in Dunedin.
• Others becoming New Zealand citizens yesterday were: Prof Michael Atkinson, Robert Barden, Glenn Mawson, James McNally, Kevin Parry, Holly Russell, Benjamin Smith, Robert Stevenson, Kevin Thomas, Glenda Wallace, Bronwyn Wallace Challis, George Wallace Challis, Joseph Wilkinson (all from Britain); Jennifer Dermer, Jonathan Dufour (both United States); Lee Jellone, Cheryl Jellone, Christen Jellone, Phillip Lewis, Jacqueline Lewis, Roxanne Lewis, Wesley Lewis, Hermanus Lundt, Catharina McLellan (all South Africa); Tutasi Dongobir (Nauru), Nader Hanna, Sherief Riad, Emil Wasef, Rania Shafik, David Wasef, Meret Wasef (all Egypt), Judith Hodge (Netherlands), Jeong Jeon (Korea), Merle Grobler (Namibia), Takashi Shogimen (Japan), Wei Wang (China).