Mayor John Carter is very well practised in the art of conducting citizenship ceremonies. And he has a familiar, idiosyncratic pattern, inviting those gathered at Te Ahu in Kaitaia to smile on what is obviously a happy occasion, reminding those who become New Zealanders that they are now expected to support the All Blacks, and thanking them for deciding to make their home in the best part of the best country in the world.

And he unfailingly welcomes women with a kiss, men with a firm shake of the hand.

He got a bit out of synch last week though, kissing Eleanor Bestwick on the cheek, then offering the same greeting to a somewhat taken aback Samuel Bestwick.

Mr Carter was quick to admit that he had become a little confused, but offered the explanation that it was election season after all.


The last man to take the oath on Wednesday, Christopher West, had a shot at offering his cheek but Mr Carter declined, saying he was a quick learner.

Meanwhile Marian Andrews, the first to take the oath on Wednesday, said she had been in New Zealand for quite some time, but had never got around to applying for citizenship. She had originally spent some time in Australia, which could have had her, but she had "seen the light;" she now had three New Zealand children, and would never go anywhere else.

George Bailey, who served with the RAF for 38 years, said he had come to New Zealand, which was now his real home, to join his son, while Andrew Gill said he had been in New Zealand for around 30 years. He had visited a number of times, and on his fourth or fifth trip had met the woman who had become his wife.

This was the best country in the world, he said, and knew of no reason to leave.

Debbie Leduc had arrived 17 years ago, and had never looked back. She now had a family business in Kerikeri, and "this is home."

Emily-Louise Scott, who arrived in 2006, had spent almost half her life in New Zealand, and now had a "little Kiwi" of her own. "This has felt like home since Day 1," she said, "and I thought I should make it official."

Irako Tasi said he had come to New Zealand looking for a better life, and was honoured to call New Zealand home, while Gillian and Christopher West had married at Taupo Bay during their "OE," and were now very much here to stay.

Those who took the oath or affirmation were:


Marian Andrews (Britain, now living in Kerikeri).

George Bailey (Britain, Kerikeri).

Eleanor and Samuel BestwIck (Britain, Kerikeri).

AndRew Robin Gill (Britain, Oromahoe).

Nathan Gary Kirby (Britain, Kerikeri).

Debbie Leduc (Canada, Kerikeri).

Laiza Morales and Julia Morales Nichols (Philippines, Totara North).

Emily-Louise Scott (Britain, Kaikohe).

Eugene Erasmus Steenkamp (South Africa, Kerikeri).

Irako Siumanaia Tasi (Samoa, Waitangi).

Gillian and Christopher West (Britain, Kerikeri).