Describing the country as a colourful garden, one family from India is overjoyed to now be one of the millions of flowers that make up our nation.

Mandeep Kaur and her family helped make up the 27 people from 10 nationalities who officially became Kiwis at the Rotorua citizenship ceremony yesterday.

Kaur moved from India to Rotorua with her husband, Jagdev Singh, in 2010 to study, driven by her late father's dream of living in New Zealand - the peaceful country she had heard about.

"From day one people have been so amazing and welcoming...I can't put it into words," Kaur said.


This was brought into sharp focuslast year when the family lost their 19-month-old son which left them "broken" and the community came together to support them.

"People we didn't even know supported us. We didn't have family here... but we felt like we had family," Kaur said.

Today, at eight months pregnant, her son and father were with her, her husband and her daughter, Avkeerat Kaur.

The family is excited for the baby expected next month who will be born with the black passport.

"Just in time," she said.

But unlike Kaur, Apinya Forrest did not move here by choice, moving here with her family when she was 11.

Born in Thailand, she moved with her family to South Africa and then New Zealand as her parents decided it was the best place for her and her siblings to grow up.

Although it has taken 20 years for her to officially become a citizen, she had considered New Zealand home for a long time.


Her Māori partner and their son joined her as she celebrated the day.

Whangamarino School livened the Council Chambers and performed an energetic poi and a haka that had the ground trembling.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick opened the ceremony with a mention of the vigil two weeks ago to support the Muslim community following the Christchurch terror attack on two mosques on March 15.

She extended an invite for all to share their stories and journeys to New Zealand.

She said it was important to "colour our understanding of what we as New Zealanders take for granted... being citizens by birth".

Each family was given a seedling to "put their roots down" in Rotorua.

The next citizenship ceremony will be on May 6.

Rotorua's newest citizens and previous nationalities
Jagdev Singh, Indian
Mandeep Kaur, Indian
Avkeerat Kaur, Indian
Apinya Forrest, Thai
Manoj Goswami, India
Durgeshni Goswami, Fijian
Tulsi Goswami, Canadian
Gunjan Goswami, Canadian
Leolaga Leilua Filipo, Samoan
Malagaatumua Leilua Filipo, Samoan
Lafaele Leilua Filipo, Samoan
Thomas Mackenzie, British
Donald Overbeay, American
Parin Patanasiri, Thai
Jino Paul, Indian
Rocia Jino Paul, Indian
Shehan Raffel, Sri Lankan
Rebecca Schweizer, British
Parampreet Singh, Indian
Priyanka Singh, Indian
Vijesh Singh, Indian
Lara Tripp, Fijian
Andre Church, British
Susan Gollan, British
Johannes Kamp, Dutch
Shivani Singh, Fijian
Jan Sismilich, Czech