Rotorua Lakes Council chambers was brimming with smiling families as 29 migrants became New Zealand citizens yesterday.

Men, women and children from 10 different countries including Chile, Thailand and Sri Lanka, were part of the ceremony hosted by Mayor Steve Chadwick and councillor Trevor Maxwell.

Year 6 Westbrook School pupils showcased three traditional performances for the audience, including waiata, poi and haka.

But there was a twist. Chadwick said it was the first time a waiata had been performed in sign language inside the council chambers.

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Westbrook School pupils performed three traditional pieces, including a waiata in sign language. Photo/ Stephen Parker
Westbrook School pupils performed three traditional pieces, including a waiata in sign language. Photo/ Stephen Parker

The Tubb family from England were among those to become Rotorua citizens.

Josie Tubb said it had taken 11 years, but all of her immediate family had moved to New Zealand, including her grandmother.

Her father David, mother Susan and brother Matthew had relocated to New Zealand one by one over the years, but all gained citizenship together.

Josie Tubb said she and her family felt "extremely lucky" to be able to live in such a beautiful country.

She acknowledged that being native English speakers, the process of moving had been easier for the family than it would be for other non English speaking families.

Susan Tubb said the family came over knowing New Zealand would be beautiful but it was the people that really made it.