St Paddy would have been proud of two cailins who became citizens of New Zealand on his special day yesterday but took care to drape themselves in the colours of their beloved homeland, Ireland.

Dr Angela Kelly, who is a teacher at Rathkeale College but originally from County Limerick, and probation officer Erica Robinson, a Dubliner, took the oath of allegiance with 14 others in the Frank Cody Lounge yesterday before adjourning to the Irish bar Joxer Daly's for a pint of Guinness.

For Dr Kelly the citizenship ceremony falling on St Patrick's Day was not lost on her but had been sheer coincidence, but Miss Robinson planned it.

She held off from opportunities to go through the ceremony knowing one of the special days was to fall on March 17.

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Also celebrating officially becoming New Zealanders were eight people from Britain, two British Greeks, a Samoan, a Canadian and a Fijian.

All were welcomed to the Citizenship Ceremony by Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson who told them New Zealand was all the richer for having a diversity of cultures.

She invited all the new citizens, along with their families and friends who came along to share an afternoon tea and presented each of the families with a kowhai tree to plant in memory of their special day.

Masterton District Council kaumatua Mike Kawana welcomed the gathering and when the official function ended he led a karakia.