Home at last

Citizenship ceremony in city

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 14:55 12/02/2013
Michael McArthur
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
Michael McArthur, centre, enjoys the moment with, from left, son Clive, grandson Dryw, granddaughter Siobhan and wife Marjory-Ellen.

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It's taken 40 years, but finally Invercargill man Michael McArthur can call himself a New Zealand citizen.

Mr McArthur was one of 30 people today sworn in by Mayor Tim Shadbolt at a New Zealand citizenship ceremony in Invercargill.

Mr McArthur and his first wife and two young children arrived in Invercargill from Bexhill-on-Sea in England in 1973 and he has lived in Southland ever since.

A biomedical engineer at Southland Hospital, Mr McArthur said his intention in 1973 had been to visit his sister in Invercargill before settling in Christchurch. However, the family enjoyed Southland and its people so much they decided to stay.

He first began the process of gaining New Zealand citizenship 25 years ago and it finally came to fruition today.

He signed all the forms and put them in the drawer a quarter century ago but had never followed through with the process until now, he said.

Mr McArthur said he had already felt more like a New Zealander than an Englishman and supported the Kiwis in sporting contests over England.

However, it was good to finally make his citizenship official.

''I am happier now ... I wanted a New Zealand passport.''

Supported by family at the citizenship ceremony, Mr McArthur gave a little celebratory jig and held his official paperwork high after being sworn in.

The remaining 29 new New Zealand citizens sworn in by Mr Shadbolt yesterday were from Britain, Fiji, Egypt, Philippines, Samoa, Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India and Portugal.

Mr Shadbolt told them: ''We need more people here in the south and we certainly appreciate your presence ... I know some of you will head off to Australia but you will always be welcome home. This is your home now.''

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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