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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:20am

Two Indian men in suits stand either side of Deputy Mayor Malcolm Lyall with a New Zealand flag projected onto a screen behind

It was a celebration for young and old as the country’s newest citizens were welcomed at the Council’s monthly citizenship ceremony.

The ceremony saw 31 people from nine different nationalities become New Zealand citizens. Among them were Mahsamae Dokouhaki, 91, who moved from Iran 20 years ago to join her daughter and family here. She was joined by 14-year-old Oscar Gosling originally from England. The first member of his family to become a New Zealander—Oscar told the audience he moved to New Zealand at the age of four. “I didn’t have any choice in that, but I have loved every moment in New Zealand. I have immersed myself in New Zealand and I wish to thank this country for everything it has done for me.”

Along with many families taking the oath together were friends for 20 years Dr Bhanupratap Vanga and Dr Venkata Chelikani who studied for their doctorates here and had decided to become New Zealanders together.

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori was also marked by Till and Tina Peters, originally from Germany, who took their oath in te reo. Along with marking Māori language week Mr Peters said they chose to take the oath in te reo as the text seemed more modern.

Mr Peters told the group he first came to New Zealand in 2005 to study before Mrs Peters joined him to travel and the pair fell in love with the country. “I remember walking on a beach in New Brighton thinking we will be back someday.”