Governor-General Dame Pasty Reddy thanked the 25 immigrants who officially became New Zealanders on Monday for choosing to make this country their home.

Dame Patsy said she always enjoyed citizenship ceremonies for the opportunity they provided to meet new New Zealanders and to hear of their experiences and aspirations.

New Zealand was often described as a nation of immigrants, she added. One-quarter of the country's population had been born elsewhere, and she was delighted to add her welcome to 25 more.

She reminded the newcomers that when they pledged their loyalty to New Zealand, and the Queen of New Zealand, they became full members of society with the same rights and obligations as all others, but they were not expected to leave their native culture, language and traditions behind.


Monday's candidates, who pledged their loyalty at Te Ahu, in Kaitaia, included Eric John William Hazelden, who said he had arrived in 1967, and the age of 9. He had spent "50-odd years checking the place out" and had decided to apply for citizenship last year after a Customs official looked at his British passport and welcomed him home.

"I decided it was about time."

Those who took the oath or affirmation of allegiance were:
Natalia Akulinina (Russia, now living at Waipapa).
Richard Mark Bamford (Britain, Kerikeri).
Fuimaono Solomona Emelio Brown (Samoa, Cable Bay).
Chelsea Rose Downey (Canada, Kerikeri).
Susan Jane Dyson (Britain, Kerikeri).
Richard Grevis Field (Australia/Britain, Kerikeri).
Ritisha Rita Geaumb (Papua New Guinea, Kerikeri).
Eric John William Hazelden (Britain, Kerikeri).
Lucy Katherine Houtas (Britain, Taipa).
Jimmy Huang (China, Kaitaia).
Je Rim Kim (Korea, Kaikohe).
Adriana Sofia Kurz (Colombia, Russell).
Stuart and Anne Pauline Leitch (Britain, Kerikeri).
Lesley Anne Lucas (Britain, Paihia).
Kalpeshwari Devi Pundir (India, Kerikeri).
Christian Charles Rasmussen (Samoa, Kerikeri).
Robert Henry and Rita Barbara Richmond (Britain, Kerikeri).
Gerald Christopher Smith (South Africa, Kerikeri).
Khor Kee Soo (Malaya, Kerikeri).
Douglas Alan Campbell Sturrock (Britain, Kerikeri).
Bernadette Therese Waller (Australia/Britain, Kerikeri).
Christopher Edward Wickenden (Britain, Kerikeri).