It has been a long road but Phoenix Foundation's Will Ricketts is now officially a Kiwi.
Despite the Government having flown his Wellington band around the world to promote Kiwi culture, Ricketts has struggled to gain citizenship.
Phoenix Foundation's co-writer, percussionist and keyboardist has had New Zealand residency since migrating from England in 1981.
But in July last year he was told by the Department of Internal Affairs that it would recommend that its minister, Chris Tremain, deny his application for citizenship because he had spent too much time out of New Zealand.
Each time Ricketts has spent significant time outside New Zealand in the past five years, it has been to play with Phoenix Foundation. This has included gigs on the popular British television show, Later With Jools Holland, and at the Glastonbury Festival.
Tours were often financially backed by the New Zealand Music Commission in a effort to showcase Kiwi music.
In July last year, he paid $470 to put a case in favour of his application to the minister and, almost a year since the department raised its opposition, he found out he had been accepted.
"It was great kind of feeling of security and comfort. I think I always felt this is home and this is where I know but, if I went on tour for a couple of years, I could lose my right to residency . . . It just makes me feel I can put my roots down a little more."
His parents, Victoria University literature professor Harry Ricketts and Rita Ricketts, who now teaches economics at Cambridge University in England, have New Zealand citizenship.
Internal Affairs makes recommendations to the Government regarding citizenship applications that are based on set criteria. That criteria includes that applicants had to have spent 240 days in New Zealand for each of the past five years.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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