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Iraq-born Dunedin resident Saif Abdulwahab A. Abdulla says he feels safe after becoming one of New Zealand's newest citizens.
Mr Abdulla was among 29 people to receive citizenship at a ceremony in Dunedin this week. He moved to New Zealand from Iraq 15 years ago, but, with the country still gripped by conflict, said it was ''nice to be away from the politics and the government''.
''I feel safer here,'' he said.
Mr Abdulla (29) was all smiles after the ceremony, talking and laughing with his two friends who came along in support, and said he hoped he would serve his new country well.
He had a degree in physical education from the University of Otago, coached children's football and hoped to work as a personal trainer.
''I am a New Zealander now and it is a privilege. It feels great and I am happy,'' he said.
The other new citizens are.- Yaqueline Calizaya Mamani (Bolivia); Bruce Graham Donald (South Africa); Marianna Fekete (Hungary); Siosaia Tuipulotu Fifita (Tonga); Shayne Patrick Galloway (United States); Isabelle Marie Dominique Guergoua, Ambryme Guergoua, Adelie Guergoua (France); Kesava Kovanur Sampath (India); Luke Alexander Pennell (Britain); Jiann-Jang Song, Tzu-Chun Lu, Ke-Si Hebe Song (Taiwan); Liam Grant Sparrow (Britain); Salimbhai Gulamhussein Wadhwania (India); Melanie Yvette Wei (Malaysia); Bianca Ann Zepter (South Africa); Christine Lydia Ford, Mark Christopher Ford (Britain); Sabrina Yu Lyn Goh (Malaysia); Stephen Kenneth Laubscher (South Africa); Katherine Ann McWilliams, Rebecca McWilliams (United States); Elizabeth Lochee Horn (South Africa); Samantha Helaruwan Jamburuthugoda Gamage, Prabodha Ratnayake Gamage Watte Gedara, Erandi Minduli Gamage, Sasmin Meth Gamage (Sri Lanka).
- Holly Bagge.