People from 12 countries have become Kiwis at a citizenship ceremony at the Rotorua Lakes Council.

At yesterday's ceremony, Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the city was becoming more diverse "and we are the richer for it".

Hermione Barrow said she had been in New Zealand since she was 2, when she and her mother moved from Fiji to be with her step-dad.

Ms Barrow said they lived in Murupara until she was 8, then they moved to Rotorua where she was schooled.

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She was now a dairy farmer's wife in the Waikato, she said.

Ms Barrow said the rest of her family had already become citizens, and she was the last to get her New Zealand citizenship.

"It's been a long time," she said, adding "I'm still Fijian at heart".

The ceremony also included kapa haka items by children from Selwyn Primary School. Each new citizen or family received a book called Choice and a seedling.

Mrs Chadwick said the seedling was for them to plant in a special place so they could put their roots into the community.

The women also received a corsage.

Two Indians, eight Filipinos, one Fijian, eight South Africans, one German, three Nigerians, two British, two Thai, three Dutch, one Cambodian, one Taiwanese and one Czech person became citizens.