Deputy Mayor Malcolm Lyall greets new citizens Tania Libin and her three-year-old daughter Evalynn

Calling Selwyn home

by Mike Isle

People from around the world are choosing to call Selwyn home and become new Kiwi citizens here.

Since February last year, 559 people of 56 different nationalities have taken the oath of allegiance at the council’s monthly citizenship ceremony.

British citizens were the most common taking up New Zealand nationality, providing 132 new citizens, followed by South Africa (91), India (51) and the Philippines (39).

However, the figures show people coming here from across the globe, including Argentina, Cambodia, Kenya, Iceland, Uzbekistan and Zambia.

For some, it was more akin to a return home. Tyler Hokianga, who gained his New Zealand citizenship in June, was raised in Australia. However, it was a visit to see his parents back here in New Zealand that sparked a desire to embrace his Kiwi heritage and officially become a Kiwi.

Daniel Dilkes, originally from Canada, echoed the words of many of the new citizens who described finding a sense of home here. “I came here for a holiday in 1996 and got a job. Years later, I’ve lived and worked all over this country. It’s a beautiful country, I fell in love with it, and it’s an absolute honour to become a citizen of this country because it’s my home.”

“People from so many different countries choosing to move here is a sign of what a good place Selwyn is to live and a boost for the district,” council community services group manager Denise Kidd said.

“We’re delighted to see so many people feel welcomed and have found a new place here. New migrants, wherever they are from, bring skills and stories that enrich us and help us grow as a community.”