Peaceful Dunedin suits new citizens

Newly sworn New Zealand citizens Abdul Mannan and Momtaj Begum, with their children, Mridula...
Newly sworn New Zealand citizens Abdul Mannan and Momtaj Begum, with their children, Mridula Mannan (front left) and Mueed Hasan. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Abdul Mannan cannot explain how it feels for his family to finally be New Zealand citizens.

Mr Mannan (43) and his wife, Momtaj Begum (42), moved to Dunedin from Bangladesh five years ago, with their children, Mueed Hasan (13) and Mridula Mannan (9).

They were made New Zealand citizens at a ceremony led by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull at the Skeggs Gallery this week. ''It's been a very long process. We have been waiting for this day for five years. We are very happy and proud. We want to contribute to New Zealand, Mr Mannan said.

''Dunedin is very vibrant; not too small and very family oriented.''

When the family left Bangladesh, they chose Dunedin because Mr Mannan's brother-in-law, Matin Talukder, was living in Dunedin and described it as peaceful. Mr Mannan recently completed a graduate diploma in statistics at Otago University and is seeking a job in research.

Mueed is a year 9 pupil at King's High School and said the best thing about it was having less homework in New Zealand. His sister, Mridula, attends Mornington School and said she enjoyed playing with friends. Mrs Begum said they planned to celebrate being New Zealanders with a family dinner, and again with friends over the weekend.

The other new citizens were: Clare Burn, Sivalingum Pillay, Nagamah Pillay, Nadine Pillay (South Africa); Monasit Charitkul (Thailand); Sung Soon Choi, Yong Jo Park, Mi Sook Song, Gyu Seo Park, Yoon Seo Park (Korean); Julie Cook (British Canadian); Carlos Ramirez (Spain); Louise Gizzi, Mark Hanson, Deborah Hanson, Holly Hanson, Tom Hanson, Jemima Pigden (Britain); Francisca Griffin (Canada); Joel Hoo (Malaysia); Taloi Hotesi (Tuvalu); Timea Krizsan (Hungary); Caleb Ndarowa (Zimbabwe); Benjamin Orpilla (Philippines); James Palin, Brianna Palin, Candace Martin, Tabitha Van Belle, Holiday Wilson (US); Jens Salomonsson, Annika Bokor (Sweden); Davinder Sharma, Poonam Sharma, Rachit Sharma, Saksham Sharma (India).

- Robert van Royen. 

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