These new Kiwis can fly

By Gary Hamilton-Irvine

The Villasan family have waited five long years to call Rotorua their official home, after moving from the busy streets of Manila.

Dense city life, hot weather and sickness was enough to move the Villasans away from the Philippines in search of something better.

The family of four moved south to New Zealand in 2007 and, after finding a job in Rotorua, have not looked back.

They became New Zealanders yesterday at a Citizenship Ceremony held at the Rotorua District Council, during which 34 people from a range of nationalities become Kiwis.

Risalie Villasan said the best thing about living in New Zealand was the smaller city and the education, which was more laid back.

"It is such a family friendly place, it is a great place to raise a family," Mrs Villasan said.

Kenji Villasan, 16, said in the Philippines she went to school in the morning and come home about 5pm, followed by tutoring at night.

She said she much preferred the system in place at John Paul College.

Kenji's father, Vincent , who works as a machine operator in Rotorua, said they would have become citizens earlier but they had to wait at least five years to become eligible.

Filipinos were the most common nationality represented at the ceremony yesterday, with 12 becoming Kiwis.

The ceremony included a waiata from Kawaha Point School students and a formal greeting from Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters.

Deputy Mayor Trevor Maxwell and councillor Karen Hunt were also on hand to give out gifts to the new citizens - a native flower plus a corsage for the women and a tie for the men. All new citizens gave an oath or affirmation during the ceremony.

New Citizens


  • Aura Ramos

  • Jayo Solicito

  • Risalie Villasan

  • Vincent Villasan

  • Kevin Villasan

  • Kenji Villasan

  • Efren Bandong

  • Ulpianessa Bandong

  • Fren John Bandong

  • Jenny Bandong

  • Fren Carlo Bandong

  • Aileen Rancap

South African

  • Jacqueline Acutt

  • Douglas Acutt

  • Patty Bester

  • Willem Bester

  • Olivia Bester

  • Anita Bester

  • Brendon Maartens


  • Nadia Bertoncini

  • Lucy Hazelwood

  • Laura Loughnane

  • Margaret Walsh

  • Paul McCann

  • Pauline Taylor


  • Cuiyun Lu

  • Ling Li Yu

  • South Korean

  • Hyunwoo Lee

  • Chul Woo Lee


  • Lorraine Bassant

  • Moenah-Shilaine Bassant


  • Andreas Gut


  • Shawna Kansinally


  • Minh Chi Ly

- Rotorua Daily Post

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