Whangarei man Josefata Raikoti may have become a New Zealand citizen but the Fijian culture and hospitality is still deeply ingrained in his psyche.
The support worker for people with special needs was all smiles after receiving his citizenship certificate from mayor Sheryl Mai at the Forum North on Friday followed by a special act.
He brought his friend and fellow Fijian Usa Uludole who strummed for a "Bula Song" much to the delight of 54 others of various nationalities who received their citizenship certificates.
Indians topped the list at 11, followed by eight South Africans, seven Zimbabweans, seven from Britain, three from Korea, three from Cambodia, three from Nigeria, two Dutch, two Fijians, two Germans, one from Bangladesh, one Malaysian, one Tongan, one Canadian, one from Papua New Guinea, one Australian and one Thai.
A former Telecom Fiji technician, Mr Raikoti was recruited by Downer in 2005 and spent about five years in Auckland, Timaru and Tauranga before he was posted to Whangarei.
"Whangarei is just like Fiji ... it's quiet, people are friendly, climate is warm and a good support network. I intend to settle down here.
"I never thought I'd come to New Zealand let alone becoming a New Zealand citizen and I thank the Lord almighty for whatever I've achieved in life," he said.
On the bula song, Mr Raikoti said: "That was to welcome everybody here in a friendly, Fijian way."
He knelt and clapped as per traditional Fijian tradition after being presented with the citizenship certificate.
Following the presentations, the mayor read a letter sent by the Minister for Internal Affairs Peter Dunne who congratulated the new citizens and urged them to uphold the values that Kiwis held dear.
He said the new citizens brought their own culture and history which enriched New Zealand.
The New Zealand national anthem was sung before the new citizens got together for a photo shoot with Ms Mai.