Rotorua now has new Kiwis of 14 different origins after a citizenship ceremony held at the Rotorua Lakes Council today.

During the ceremony, Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said we were blessed to live in a country free of some of the terrible things that happen in the world, and paid tribute to the lives of those lost in Orlando.

"It makes us reflect on what a wonderful country New Zealand is," she said.
For Katie Redfern, getting her New Zealand citizenship this month was the first of three big months coming up.

In July she would be getting her black belt in taekwondo and then getting married in August, she said.


"It's funny the way it worked out."

Miss Redfern said she had been in New Zealand for nine years and had lived in both Waitomo and Rotorua.

She said she came here for a working holiday and, apart from falling in love, she stayed on because "I just absolutely love New Zealand".

She had wanted to come here since she was about 12 years old, she said.

She spent a year in Australia before coming to New Zealand, and was going to go to Canada afterwards, but never made it because New Zealand "stole" her, Miss Redfern said.

Miss Redfern said her family was back in England, but she had a ready-made family with her partner and his two children who were Kiwis already.

"It was a really special decision to join the rest of my family as Kiwis."

She said she was happy to call New Zealand her country and liked how the people were friendly.

She also liked the opportunities and activities here, "because I really love all my outdoor sports".

The ceremony also included kapa haka items from Westbrook Primary School and each new Kiwi citizen or family received a book and a seedling.

Mrs Chadwick said the New Zealand native plant was given so families could choose where to put it and to symbolise their earthing in this place.

The women also received a corsage and the children a pen.

Those who became citizens included six Indian, one Vietnamese, one Mexican, three Zimbabwean, nine British, three South African, two Fijian, two Australian, three German South African, one Brazilian, one Chinese, one German Swiss, one Belgian and one Sri Lankan.