New citizens welcome in Waitaki district

The latest citizenship ceremony in Oamaru celebrated twenty-four new kiwi citizens to the North...
The latest citizenship ceremony in Oamaru celebrated twenty-four new kiwi citizens to the North Otago region. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The last citizenship ceremony of the year in Oamaru has celebrated the growing diversity of the region.

Twenty-four people hailing from nearly a dozen countries were welcomed as New Zealand citizens last week.

Waitaki District Council Mayor Gary Kircher, speaking to a near capacity crowd at the Oamaru Opera House, on Tuesday, said the citizenship ceremony was an occasion for celebration.

"These ceremonies are truly special occasions and show just how welcoming our country is to those who come to live here," Mr Kircher said.

"Whether they’ve been here five years or thirty-five years, choosing to become a New Zealand citizen is something we love to celebrate".

The 24 new citizens were Richard (UK) and Sally Cattle (Kenya), Kai-Han Chang (Taiwan), Madaline and Martin Davey (UK), Manjinder Singh (India), Ryan Gower (South Africa), Sara Jones-Hogan (Wales), Atelaita, Ane and Viliami Kaufana (Tonga), Mwilu Masaka (Zambia), Stephanie and Patricia Morondoz (Philippines), Ofelia Morondoz Velenski (Philippines), Noreen O'Neill (UK), Kwankhao Pai-roah (Thailand), Teanikumi Piukula (Tonga), Kalpana Reddy (Fiji), Brian Roberts (UK), Ikani, Cendric and Ane Sila (Tonga).

They have come to New Zealand from the United Kingdom, Kenya, Taiwan, India, South Africa, Wales, Tonga, Zambia, Phillipines, Thailand and Tonga.

The ceremony was led by Mr Kircher and Deputy Mayor Hana Halalele with assistance from councillors Jim Hopkins, Courtney Linwood and John McCone.

“It’s a real privilege to be part of such a significant time in people’s lives’,’’ Mr Kircher said.

Waiata by pupils of Weston School welcomed the new citizens, their families and friends.

The new citizens then took an oath of allegiance. They were presented with a citizenship pack and a native hebe plant.

As part of the ceremony, a welcome video by Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro was shown.

Weston School pupils and the attendees then sang the national anthem.

The ceremony ended with an afternoon tea to welcome the region’s newest New Zealanders.