It's official: Lady Isaac is now a Kiwi

'It is something she has always wanted to do'

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 18/10/2012
Lady Isaac
PROUD KIWI: Lady Isaac celebrates with her dog, Mr Mercedes, after receiving her New Zealand citizenship from Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker.

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Diana, Lady Isaac, has officially become a Kiwi after more than six decades in New Zealand.

The environmentalist, benefactor and businesswoman can now add New Zealand citizen to that list after a private ceremony led by Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker at her Mcleans Island home last month.

Isaac's personal assistant, Catherine Ott, said the ceremony fulfilled a long-held ambition.

"It was perhaps on her bucket list and now she has ticked it off," she said.

"I think it is something she has always wanted to do."

Isaac, 91, was born and raised in England and worked for the British Army in India for three years in her 20s. She settled in Christchurch in 1950.

Ott said Isaac was technically a New Zealand citizen, but wanted to make it official.

"She was [a citizen] but she wasn't. It was very peculiar. She had a New Zealand passport because there was a two-year period from 1956 to 58 when if you were married to a New Zealand person you were given a New Zealand passport, but she never actually had citizenship granted," Ott said.

"She is now a citizen and made a pledge of allegiance to the country and the flag. It was a fantastic event.

"She sort of was a citizen already. She was 90 per cent there, but in her mind she was adamant she wanted to be 100 per cent and have that ceremony. She was absolutely thrilled. It meant an enormous amount to her."

Parker said it was a "very special" ceremony.

"Lady Isaac is very frail, but she is still an extraordinary benefactor and a great friend to the city," he said.

"It was a wonderful opportunity to make her a New Zealand citizen . . . but also a chance to acknowledge the tremendous gifts she has given to the city.

"It was a surprise that she wasn't a Kiwi.

"It is a great show of strength and commitment from her that she considers this to be so important."

TIMELINE

1945 - Met future husband Neil Isaac on a troop ship heading for India.

1946 - Married Isaac in New Delhi. 1947 - Helped build irrigation dams in north India.

1950 - Arrived in New Zealand and Isaac Construction founded.

1977 - The Isaac Wildlife Trust established. 1982 - Neil Isaac awarded a Queen's Service Order.

1986 - Neil Isaac knighted.

1987 - Neil Isaac dies.

1989 - Awarded Queen's Service Medal.

2009 - Awarded New Zealand Order of Merit.

2012 - Officially becomes a New Zealand citizen.

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- The Press

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