New Zealand


Call for Immigrants to be Seen as Important for Future of New Zealand

by Ray Clancy on February 23, 2015

Immigrants have an important role in shaping the future of New Zealand and they should be applauded for being willing to make a new life in a new country.

At the launch of a new book showcasing the role of citizenship, Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne said that the book allows people to understand the New Zealand Citizenship story.

movingtonewzealandIMAGE‘As our society changes and becomes more diverse, it’s critical that we welcome new immigrants to our country and applaud them for their willingness to commit to their new home by becoming citizens,’ he explained.

Choice Whiriwhiria includes interviews and images of people who have actively chosen New Zealand citizenship as well as information about the nation’s democracy, human rights and symbols of national identity.

A video featuring messages from the Governor General and Dunne has also been produced and will be shown at citizenship ceremonies and councils around New Zealand will distribute the book to new citizens at the many citizenship ceremonies that are held across the country every day.

The most up to date figures show that a total of 27,947 applicants were granted New Zealand citizenship in 2014, an increase of 52 people from the previous year.

‘Around one in four New Zealanders are now born overseas and it is important to celebrate their contribution to New Zealand’s strong multi-cultural national identity and heritage, and to encourage others to do the same,’ Dunne pointed out.

Some of the citizens profiled in the book include ground breaking plastic surgeon and cancer researcher, Dr Swee Tan, originally from Malaysia, top jockey Mark Du Plessis, who emigrated from Zimbabwe and has ridden in the Melbourne Cup three times, as well as Inge Woolf, matriarch of Wellington’s Woolf photography family, who fled Austria to avoid the Nazis.

‘I didn’t become a citizen for a passport but because I wanted to show my commitment to New Zealand. I had the opportunity to get an European Union passport but refused. I wouldn’t be anything but a New Zealander,’ said Woolf.

Another citizen profiled in the book, Candy Wu Zhang, says although it was hard giving up her Chinese passport to become a New Zealander, it was worth it. ‘I’m still proud of my Chinese ethnicity but becoming a citizen was about committing to this country which has given me so much,’ she explained.

An electronic version of the book can be viewed on the Department of Internal Affairs’ website.

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