Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

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The Khun family (from left) Masal, Vishnun, Potey Uy and Vishnu after a citizenship ceremony at Government House in Wellington. Photo / Marty Melville
The Khun family (from left) Masal, Vishnun, Potey Uy and Vishnu after a citizenship ceremony at Government House in Wellington. Photo / Marty Melville

Being a New Zealander means many things to different people. At a special Waitangi Day ceremony in Wellington yesterday, presided over by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae at Government House, six families became new citizens. Here, three of the families tell why they chose to become New Zealanders.


Seualuga family, from Samoa

Palasi Seualuga (left), Moroni, Selasimo,Vincent, and Berlantina. Photo / Marty Melville
Palasi Seualuga (left), Moroni, Selasimo,Vincent, and Berlantina. Photo / Marty Melville

For Palasi and Selasimo Seualuga, becoming New Zealanders was about giving their three children the best shot in life.

Moroni, 15, Vincent, 12, and Berlantina, 6, will now see out the rest of the school year as fully-fledged citizens.

Like their parents and other attendants, the trio were excited to have Waitangi Day as their citizenship ceremony day. Mrs Seualuga, 43, said having her children educated in New Zealand was a major drawcard.

Her husband, 49, also had plenty of family in the country to provide support, she said.

"Thank you for the opportunity. Today is a very special day for my family."


Khun and Uy family, from Cambodia

Masal Khun, 43, chose to settle in New Zealand after seeing how diverse and accepting Kiwis were.

"It is our first time to have the opportunity to become New Zealand citizens, especially on Waitangi Day," he said.

Mr Khun and his wife, Potey Uy, 33, said New Zealand was a "very peaceful country" making it an ideal place to raise their two teenage sons, Vishnu and Vishnun.

"I hope that New Zealand is the best place to raise kids, to grow up in and to have a good education," he said.


Berger family, from Washington DC

Michael Berger (left), Jennifer, Naomi and Aidan. Photo / Marty Melville
Michael Berger (left), Jennifer, Naomi and Aidan. Photo / Marty Melville

Today's citizenship ceremony marked another step in an adventure for the Berger family. Michael and Jennifer Berger first came to New Zealand seven years ago with their two children Naomi, 16, and Aidan, 12.

"We came here for an adventure, we didn't intend to stay. We came just for a visit (initially) for a couple of years," Mrs Berger, 43, said.

After settling in and experiencing the Kiwi way of life, the family decided to make the trip a permanent move.

"New Zealand really had the first attraction because it was just so obviously beautiful, but as we came to get a sense of what society is like, how people treat each other, it seemed to be a wonderful fit of what's important to us."

- NZ Herald

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