A new fron­tier, right here

South Waikato News - - Front Page - LUKE KIRKEBY

A mas­sive 38 new New Zealand cit­i­zens were wel­comed to the South Waikato district on Fri­day in what was its big­gest cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­mony to date.

With fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als re­lo­cat­ing from the likes of Egypt, the Philip­pines, Brazil, Fiji, the United King­dom, South Africa, Samoa, Cam­bo­dia, Sir Lanka, In­dia, and China the district is also be­com­ing one of New Zealand’s most cul­tur­ally di­verse.

Taupo MP Louise Up­ston, mayor Jenny Shat­tock, South Waikato District Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Hobbs, coun­cil­lors, other com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and ex­tended family mem­bers all gath­ered for the cer­e­mony which was also held at the South Waikato Sport and Events Centre for the first time.

Usu­ally such cer­e­monies are held in the coun­cil cham­bers and the cer­e­mony was orig­i­nally sched­uled to take place dur­ing the coun­cil’s meet­ing on Thurs­day but due to such high numbers it was moved to the Fri­day and the events centre in­stead.

Shat­tock could hardly con­tain her ex­cit­ment on wel­com­ing the new New Zealan­ders to the South Waikato.

‘‘How ex­cit­ing is this, it is so mul­ti­cul­tural and it just makes our com­mu­nity bet­ter for it with all th­ese new cul­tures that come in. It is awe­some,’’ she said.

‘‘It is the first time we have had it at the events centre too so that is re­ally spe­cial.’’

South Waikato District Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Hobbs said it was a re­flec­tion of the trend of more peo­ple rec­og­niz­ing the South Waikato as a de­sir­able lo­ca­tion to live.

‘‘It is re­ally spe­cial that the South Waikato is so mul­ti­cul­tural and peo­ple are re­al­is­ing what the South Waikato has,’’ he said.

Up­ston ac­knowl­edged the new cit­i­zens for recog­nis­ing New Zealand as a ‘‘land of op­por­tu­nity’’ and for choos­ing the South Waikato as their new home.

‘‘Make sure you share your cul­tures with others be­cause one thing that makes us wealthy as a na­tion is our peo­ple and di­ver­sity,’’ she said.

‘‘The fact that there are so many coun­cil­lors here re­ally does recog­nise how im­por­tant you are to this district.’’

She en­cour­aged the new cit­i­zens to em­brace the South Waikato.

‘‘Em­brace ev­ery op­por­tu­nity that your new home and land pro­vides,’’ she said.

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