Mayor hails new Kiwis

Ten of the 11 people who became New Zealand citizens this week are: (front, from left) Hop Thi...
Ten of the 11 people who became New Zealand citizens this week are: (front, from left) Hop Thi Nguyen, Cornelia Johanna Van Der Hout, Hajar Ali, Nga Michelle Blanchard; (middle row) Alex John Hills, Junyu Ruan, Sean Kai Shern Tee, Karen Maria Panicker; (back row) Pedram Alishahi and Guangting Dong. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Dunedin is benefiting from the cross-cultural links provided by 11 overseas-born residents who became New Zealand citizens at a ceremony this week, Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin said.

Mr Chin reminded participants of their rights and responsibilities as citizens and also highlighted the social support available through the Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council.

During the ceremony at the city's Municipal Chambers, he said that for many new citizens, English was not their first language, but their children would benefit from having the chance to learn the first language and culture of their parents.

Several of the new citizens were studying at the University of Otago, in some cases after their parents had migrated with them to the North Island, particularly Auckland.

Pedram Alishahi, formerly of Sweden, felt "quite proud to be considered a New Zealand citizen".

He is the final year of his bachelor of medical laboratory science studies at the University of Otago, having earlier moved to New Zealand with his parents in 2005.

Karen Panicker, an Indian-born BSc physiology student at Otago University, also felt "privileged" to become a citizen, her parents having moved to New Zealand in 2000.

Several other new citizens said that, despite the somewhat cool weather, they were enjoying life in the South, including the friendly people and close links between Otago University and the community.

People who became New Zealand citizens at the ceremony were: Hajar Ali (Afghanistan); Pedram Alishahi (Sweden); Nga Michelle Blanchard, Mrs Hop Thi Nguyen (Vietnam); Guangting Dong, Junyu Ruan (China); Alex John Hills, Graeme Thomas Scouller (Britain); Karen Maria Panicker (India); Sean Kai Shern Tee (Malaysia); Cornelia Johanna Van Der Hout (the Netherlands).



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