Samoan family among citizens

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A new home . . . The Tanuvasa family hail from Samoa and were the largest family among the citizenship ceremony held at the Clutha District Council last week. Pictured are (from left) Maria Tanuvasa, Esetateresitila Tanuvasa (6), Caleb Tanuvasa (9), Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan, Mathafasue Tanuvasa (10), Mikaele Tanuvasa and Sannar Tanuvasa (12). PHOTO: JACK CONROY

Mikaele Tanuvasa is a Balclutha resident, a husband, and father to four children, and now a new citizen of New Zealand.

He came from Samoa seven years ago, and then brought his family over with him.

Together they made up the largest family cohort during last week’s citizenship ceremony held at the Clutha District Council chambers.

The ceremony involved 18 people from five different countries being sworn in as citizens with help from Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan.

One by one, the new citizens had a chance to introduce themselves.

“It was a great blessing for us,”Mr Tanuvasa said.

“And it is a great opportunity for my children.”

Mr Tanuvasa is a freezing worker at Silver Fern Farms Finegand plant, where he has been working for the past five years.

His children go to Balclutha Primary School.

In 2017 he found out he and his family were allowed to stay in the country, and said it was an emotional moment.

“I was in the passenger seat of a taxi when I got the call from my wife. She was crying and crying. We are very happy.”

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said he was “Absolutely thrilled” with the size of the new group of citizens, and welcomed them to their new home in a ceremony last week.

“After seeing a generation of people leaving the district, to see them coming back in these numbers is wonderful.”

He put the influx of new people to the rise in jobs in the area.

However, it was not all newcomers to the district, with some long-time residents finally making it official.

The longest standing of these was Wendy Elizabeth Flett, who came to New Zealand as a child in 1961, and spent the past 40 years living in Milton.

“I thought I’d better finally do it right,” she said.