New Carterton Kiwis 'join the family'

By alisa.yong@age.co.nz -
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NEW NEIGHBOURS: Rowanne Bowden, Marvin Guerrero Munoz, Jaroslav Pretak, Christine Arcus, Celia Holt, John Henry (obscured), Kat Pretak, Lesley Wright, Erin Charnock, Judith Lee, Kieran Charnock, Andrew Charnock, Mayor John Booth, Pernille Booth and Steven Lee.PHOTOS/ALISA YONG
NEW NEIGHBOURS: Rowanne Bowden, Marvin Guerrero Munoz, Jaroslav Pretak, Christine Arcus, Celia Holt, John Henry (obscured), Kat Pretak, Lesley Wright, Erin Charnock, Judith Lee, Kieran Charnock, Andrew Charnock, Mayor John Booth, Pernille Booth and Steven Lee.PHOTOS/ALISA YONG

In what was a record-breaker for Carterton, a total of 18 new citizens have been sworn in as Kiwis.

The new citizens, who hailed from the United States, Denmark, South Africa, England, Honduras, British Columbia, Sweden and the Czech Republic, swore an oath of allegiance to New Zealand before Carterton Mayor John Booth in a ceremony at the Events Centre on Wednesday.

Mr Booth commended the new citizens on the bravery and enthusiasm that had led them to this point.

"It's a privilege and a wonderful occasion to be able to be the final link in your becoming a New Zealand citizen.

"We're delighted you have made the decision to 'join the family' as Kiwis," Mr Booth told the new citizens.

One new citizen was real estate agent Kat Pretak, who said she had never looked back since moving to the town eight years ago.

"Before we came here we didn't even know Wairarapa existed - it was left out in all the tourist guides - and now we love it. We wouldn't go anywhere else."

Originally from the Czech Republic, Mrs Pretak and her husband Jaroslav live on a lifestyle block on Norfolk Rd where they grow grapes and olives.

The pair met in Auckland but never really settled in there, Mrs Pretak said.

"We couldn't feel completely at home in Auckland, whereas here we started to feel like we could live without prejudice. Auckland is just too big to feel like you belong somewhere."

Mrs Pretak runs the weekly community fundraising barbecue at the Farmers' Market, and said it was her way of giving back to the community that had made her feel so welcome.

Also taking the plunge and becoming a Kiwi was Cafe Medici's Marvin Guerrero Munoz, who said he moved to Wairarapa eight years ago after "falling in love with a beautiful Wairarapa girl".

"It's a sense of belonging - it's my home."

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