Romanian family pass 'final test'

HAMISH CARDWELL
Last updated 11:30 16/11/2012
Damian family
Scott Hammond

Sworn in: The Damian family, originally from Romania, were sworn in as New Zealand citizens yesterday at a ceremony at the Marlborough District Council. They are, from left, Radu, Mihai, Nicolae, Gabriel and Ella Damian.

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A Romanian family and 14 other people became Marlborough's newest New Zealanders yesterday after pledging allegiance to the Queen in a ceremony held at the Marlborough District Council chambers.

Mayor Alistair Sowman presided over the ceremony, held before smiling family and friends.

After the pledge, officers from the navy and the army saluted the flag while a young man led the gathering through the Maori and English versions of the national anthem.

"I'm not sure if you were aware, but that [singing the anthem] was your final test," Mr Sowman said.

He thoroughly enjoyed the swearing-in ceremonies, he said.

"There are mixed emotions. Some people struggle to say the words, while others have tears in their eyes."

Ella Damian said New Zealanders asked her a lot of questions when they found out she was from Transylvania.

Her family used to live just 16 kilometres from the castle where the famous vampire, Dracula, was said to reside.

The family moved to New Zealand seven years ago to get away from the low wages and corruption endemic in their home country, she said.

"We are happy to be in Marlborough," she said. "The weather is beautiful."

Her husband, Mihai, works at Safe Air as an aircraft engineer and her twin boys, Nicolae and Gabriel, 27, were looking for work in computing.

Nicolae said he and Gabriel did degrees in information technology at the Southern Institute of Technology. "We are like a team, we never fight. What one [twin] cannot do, the [other] one helps," he said.

"I don't understand why siblings squabble. Our other brother is also like a third twin."

He did not miss the cold in his native country.

"Winters used to get down to minus 20 degrees. If you leave your hands out in the cold, they would get little cuts in them."

New citizens:

Mr Renier Ackermann- South Africa

Mrs Clare Louise Cameron- British

Mrs Sheila Doreen Cunningham- Canada

Ms Hannah Kathleen Cunningham- Canada

Mr Mihai Damian- Romania

Mrs Ella Antonica Damian- Romania

Mr Nicolae Emanuel Damian- Romania

Mr Gabriel Dan Damian- Romania

Mr Radu Mihai Damian- Romania

Mrs Celia Jane Higginson- Britian

Mr Ian Norman Higginson- Britian

Master James Alistair Higginson- Britian

Miss Hannah Elizabeth Higginson- Britian

Ms Jill Marguerite Hollingum- Canada

Mr John Davidson Leith- Britian

Mr Darren Roy Watts- Britian

Mrs Angela Watts- Britian

Miss Abigail Philippa Watts- Britian

Master Joshua William Watts- Britian

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- The Marlborough Express

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