Maori welcome for new Kiwis

New citizens (from left) Rosalind Innes, Pernilla Landstrom, Rosemary Davies, Jamie Pope, Ling...
New citizens (from left) Rosalind Innes, Pernilla Landstrom, Rosemary Davies, Jamie Pope, Ling Guo, Mohammad Husein, Pornchanok Anderson, Ruth Henderson, Lucie Lawrence and Delcie King, and Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan celebrate after the Central Otago District Council citizenship ceremony in Alexandra last week. PHOTO: PAM JONES
A Maori welcome is set to become a permanent part of Central Otago District Council citizenship ceremonies, following a well-received debut and at the request of Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan.

Alexandra kaikaranga Louise McKenzie and Francie Diver provided the first Maori welcome ceremony to Central Otago citizens late last year at the request of one of the people being sworn in as a New Zealand citizen. The citizenship ceremony was the first presided over by Mr Cadogan as mayor.

He said the welcome had been moving and fitting and he requested it become a permanent part of all citizenship ceremonies. Mrs McKenzie and Mrs Diver said they were pleased to deliver the welcomes, which embraced those joining New Zealand as citizens.

Ten people were welcomed by kaikaranga and became New Zealand citizens at a ceremony in Alexandra last week. Mr Cadogan thanked them for choosing New Zealand as their country.

Ling Guo came from a ``stressful'' stock exchange life in China to New Zealand as she thought it would be a ``nice place to start a new life''. She said the people in Alexandra were so friendly and helpful ``it's like belonging to a very large family''.

Mohammad Husein, of Jordan, said he had always dreamt of coming to New Zealand and now he had his own business in Cromwell. He also met his future wife, who is from Fiji, in New Zealand.

Pornchanok Anderson, of Thailand, had operated small businesses in New Zealand with her husband and moved from Queenstown to Central Otago partly to give her more space for expressing her love of gardening.

Ruth Henderson came to New Zealand with her parents as a baby. Five years ago she moved to Central Otago from Christchurch. She said her family had ``never looked back'' after the quakes.

Lucie Lawrence, of France, married her Kiwi husband in Burgundy, then moved to Central Otago. They make their own wine at Aurum Wines.

Pernilla Landstrom, of Sweden, said she came to New Zealand for love: ``Love is the word that sums up my reason for travelling to New Zealand in the first place. Love is also the reason why I have chosen Central Otago and the Teviot Valley. For love of the land and its people.''

pam.jones@odt.co.nz

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