There were smiles and tears as Rotorua welcomed and celebrated several of its residents becoming new Kiwis.

A citizenship ceremony was held yesterday at the Rotorua Lakes Council.

To open the ceremony, Horohoro School pupils performed several kapa haka items.

A total of 27 new Kiwis were welcomed, with Indian, British, Tongan, South African/Zimbabwean, Polish, Sri Lankan, Samoan, South African, Dutch and Korean origins.

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For one Rotorua woman getting her citizenship had been a long time coming, having been in New Zealand for 65 years.

Maria den Boer, originally from Holland, said she was 21 when she arrived in New Zealand.

She was engaged to an army officer from Holland who decided to come to New Zealand, so they moved here together.

"We got married here and lived happily ever after in New Zealand. We had a wonderful life in New Zealand."

She said she had wanted to become a Kiwi for her three daughters and son.

Maria den Boer has been in New Zealand for 65 years and is now a citizen. Photo / Shauni James
Maria den Boer has been in New Zealand for 65 years and is now a citizen. Photo / Shauni James

Den Boer said she liked everything here in New Zealand and Rotorua, including the climate, the nature, and the people.

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"I just want to say New Zealand has been the most wonderful country I have ever seen."

Aju Thomson, from India, said the citizenship ceremony was a proud moment.

He said he came to Rotorua in 2010 to study at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

His wife followed, and they are now both nurses in Rotorua.

He said they came here for great opportunities professionally and economically.

"Every moment in this country we enjoy."

Rotorua's new Kiwis
- Praveen Bhati (India)
- Bandhana Bhati (India)
- Claire Cornwell (Britain)
- Isileli Mafileo Sr (Tonga)
- Losaline Mafileo (Tonga)
- Setaleki Jr Mafileo (Tonga)
- Desmond Mafileo (Tonga)
- Isileli Jr Mafileo (Tonga)
- Aketi Manavahe (Tonga)
- Trevor Pratt (South African/Zimbabwean)
- Krishna Ranawat (India)
- Katarzyna Rogoz-Baker (Poland)
- Savithri Seneviratne (Sri Lanka)
- Rajind Seneviratne (Sri Lanka)
- Avindha Seneviratne (Sri Lanka)
- Ashenka Seneviratne (Sri Lanka)
- Aju Thomson (India)
- Elezabath Jacob (India)
- Liz Jacob (India)
- Ekerytony Tupe (Samoa)
- Anna Buys (South Africa)
- Tiaan Buys (South Africa)
- Maria den Boer (Holland)
- Kuldeep Kaur (India)
- Hyunchul Lee (Korea)
- Keumkyoung Yoo (Korea)
- Jiwon Lee (Korea)