New citizen in, boots and all

Rodrigo Marcelo Plaza (44), of Chile, and his daughter Emily Plaza Huggins (3) celebrate Mr Plaza becoming a New Zealand citizen yesterday afternoon. Photo: Linda Robertson
Rodrigo Marcelo Plaza (44), of Chile, and his daughter Emily Plaza Huggins (3) celebrate Mr Plaza becoming a New Zealand citizen yesterday afternoon. Photo: Linda Robertson
When Rodrigo Marcelo Plaza left Chile 10 years ago, he intended to stay in New Zealand six months.

Mr Plaza (44), dressed in a traditional Chilean huaso, complete with spurs on his boots, yesterday became a New Zealand citizen along with 59 other people in a ceremony held at the Dunedin Centre.

Deputy mayor Chris Staynes, who officiated at the ceremony, told Mr Plaza ''he loved his boots'' before the affirmation.

Mr Plaza, who is a mechanical engineer, moved to Reefton to work in the mines and met his wife there six years ago.

They started a family and have a young daughter.

The family moved to Dunedin almost four years ago after he took a job at Macraes Mine.

Everyone had been extremely welcoming to Mr Plaza over the past 10 years and he loved ''how many different ethnicities'' there were in New Zealand.

Mr Plaza said he was ''incredibly proud to become a citizen of this beautiful country''.

The new 59 citizens are. - Salomon Alias (India), Leema Pynadath Alis (India), Aaron Salomon Alias (India), Paula Marie Louise Andrews (Britain/Ireland), Mark James Andrews (Britain), Marcus Telwin Augustine (India), Aidan John Barbour-Ryan (Ireland), Linda Barnard (South Africa), Casper Hendrik Barnard (South Africa), Rebecca Barnard (South Africa), Chontira Chumsaeng (Thailand), Isara Nimcharoen (Thailand), William Colin Gibson (Australia), India Clarice Jessie Gillespie-Gibson (Australia), Cynthia Arnold Goodwin (British), Sergiy Gumenjuk (Ukraine), Jakub Michal Kochan (Poland), Dominika Irena Biziak-Kochan (Poland), Zuzanna Dominika Kochan (Poland), Lona Lafaele (Samoa), Leong Hong Loh (Malaysia), Lee Yin Fong (Malaysia), Marilette Lotter (South Africa), Andrea Aniko Luthar (Hungary), Peter Luthar (Hungary), Bethany Jane McBurney (Britain), Trevor Alan McIntyre (South Africa), Rodrigo Marcelo Plaza (Chile), Palsamy Ramathas (Malaysia), Ann Philomena Ramathas (Ireland), Natasha Bhavani Ramathas (Ireland), Mr Reyimu Rezhayiding (China), Lee Russell (Britain), Bagus Santoso (Indonesia), Emmanuel Joseph Seby (India), Xiang Shi (China), Kelly Elizabeth Simmons (United States), Gurjinder Singh (India), Edward Nathanael Stainsby (Britain), Scarlett Winter (Britain), Udaya Nishantha Alahakoon (Sri Lanka), Ruwani Kanchana Gajasinghe Alahakoon (Sri Lanka), Nethmi Maliza Alahakoon (Sri Lanka), Ravija Randila Alahakoon (Sri Lanka), Stephen George Sinclair (Britain), Marie-Louisa Sinclair (Austria), Kin Shun Wai (China), Graig George Gernetzky (South Africa), Carolyn Sue Gernetzky (South Africa), Jurgen Gerhardous Koen (South Africa), Thanthirige Upali Kumarasinghe (Sri Lanka), Thanthirige Kasun Thilina Kumarasinghe (Sri Lanka), Susan Lark (Australia/Britain), Marco Antonio Rodrigo Vega Vega (Chile), Tarja Kyllikki Vitanen (Finland), Nisha Vijayan (India), Jaia Jann Carla Bumatay Vucetich (Philippines), Richard John Field (Britain), Amanda Jane Bensilum (Britain).

-By Kayla Hodge

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