It's a far cry from the furore in Australia over the way it treats New Zealanders.

Around the same time diplomatic relations were blowing up deluxe between trans-Tasman governments this week, Lisca Hoy was becoming a New Zealand citizen at a ceremony in Rotorua.

Prime Minister Bill English earlier this week stated he was "unhappy" with the ongoing erosion of New Zealanders' rights in Australia and with Canberra's failure to give any advance warning about major policy changes.

The Australian Government has been in the gun all week over its decision to hike New Zealand citizens' university fees. Although expats will be given access to student loans for the first time, many say the higher fees will make university study in the country unaffordable.


Hoy, 60, moved to New Zealand from Australia in 2009, after being recruited for a midwifery role at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland.

"There are a number of reasons why I moved to New Zealand," she said, after her citizenship ceremony. "I was looking for change and I also had family here. People are friendly and I do think it's easier to find out what you need to do in New Zealand, for processes such as the IRD."

She said she felt there were not too many differences between New Zealand and Australia, but a big one for her was midwifery being recognised as a profession in New Zealand, which wasn't the case in Australia.

"It is way more supportive and we have direct access to consultants, and support from the Midwifery Council [of New Zealand]."

Ms Hoy said on the whole she felt welcomed by New Zealanders, although she was aware of her privilege of having white skin and speaking English.

She said she regularly returned to Australia to see family.

The Rotorua Citizenship Ceremony took place on Wednesday at the Rotorua Lakes Council Chamber.

At the ceremony songs were sung, and a haka performed, by students of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Rotoiti.

The ceremony included a welcome video message from Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and Minister of Internal Affairs Peter Dunne.

New citizens received a book titled Choice and a plant "to symbolically put roots down", Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick said.

Seven Indians, four South Africans, three Filipinos, one Czech, one Briton, one Chinese, one Fijian, two Samoan, one Hungarian, seven Sri Lankans - and one Australian - became citizens.

- Additional reporting by Georgina Harris of the Rotorua Daily Post.