Sweet feeling to become NZ citizen

New citizen Rosie Melrose, formerly of Fiji, shows her New Zealand-born daughter Bianca (4) the...
New citizen Rosie Melrose, formerly of Fiji, shows her New Zealand-born daughter Bianca (4) the native plant she was given at the citizenship ceremony in the Skeggs Gallery at the Dunedin Municipal Chambers this week. Photo by Craig Baxter.

It felt like a long time coming, but Rosie Melrose can finally call herself a New Zealander.

She was among a group of 31 people who were sworn in as New Zealand citizens at a ceremony at the Municipal Chambers in Dunedin this week.

Mrs Melrose said it was an emotional day for her and the culmination of a long journey which started when she left her Fijian homeland eight years ago.

''I'm very privileged to be here and to call myself a New Zealander,'' she said after the ceremony.

Despite the turmoil and coup which gripped her homeland in 2006, it was love and not war which made her want to leave Fiji.

Her New Zealand husband, George Melrose, said seeing her sworn in as a citizen was emotional: ''Both of us are very grateful for those that have helped us on this journey.''

The couple married in Fiji about 10 years ago and it took three applications before she was able to enter the country.

That made this week's ceremony even sweeter, Mrs Melrose said.

''I feel very happy and free that I can enjoy the things that New Zealand has to offer me.''

Other new citizens were. - Harriet Reith (Australian British); Finbarr Noble (Belgian); Hannah Boden, Susannah Cartwright, David Fitton, Camille Harisson, Azura-Amy Patterson, George Ryan, Lesley Sime, Andrew Towner, Dr Andrew Trotman (British); Wei Quan, Yangtian Zhou (Chinese); Bichoy Fahmy (Egyptian); Salanieta Yacake Ahlbrandt (Fijian); Paul Caumban, Lilian Mirandilla, Jessie Mirandilla, Jillian Mirandilla (Filipino); Nana Amparbeng (Ghanaian); Leslie Antony, Babu Ram (Indian); Seong Park (Korean); Joel Liew (Malaysian); Agata Michalczyk Scoles (Polish); Faasipa Loli (Samoan); Tzu-Chiao Hung (Taiwanese); Hermina Hotesi (Tuvaluan); Khanh Nguyen (Vietnamese); Foster Chinorinda (Zimbabwean).

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