Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Double-happy for one new citizen

Rotorua's Faruk family have enjoyed a double celebration - not only have they become New Zealand citizens but the youngest member of the family turned 16.

Yesterday 32 people from 13 countries were made New Zealand citizens - people from as far away as Israel and the Netherlands and some a little closer to home, such as Fiji and Samoa.

They received their citizenship certificates during a special ceremony held at the Rotorua District Council from Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters.

Originally from Cuvu Sigatoka in Fiji, Mohammed Faruk, his wife Shereen, their son Mohammed Farish and daughter Fazia Nisha all became new citizens after living for eight years in Rotorua.

Mr Faruk works as an executive chef for The Silver Oaks Hotel, his wife Shereen works in the produce department at New World and son Mohammed is studying pre-police training at Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Rotorua.

"Most of my family are here and I felt Rotorua was a peaceful and nice place to be. It's just like Fiji except for the sun and we'll be celebrating with some kava tonight," Mr Faruk said.

It was a double occasion for 16-year-old Fazia Nisha, who had her birthday on the same day.

"It feels really good, I love living here," she said.

The Rotorua Girls' High School student said she wanted to become a Customs officer when she left school and was grateful for all the opportunities that Rotorua and New Zealand had to offer.

Guests at the ceremony were entertained with a cultural performance by students from Ngongotaha School and by local singer Madeline van Harselaar, who was accompanied by Allison Zanelli on the piano.

The ladies were each given a corsage by councillor Julie Calnan, and the men a tie.

Each new citizen received a cabbage tree seedling from deputy mayor Trevor Maxwell.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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