Hiran Patel, who became a New Zealand citizen on Wednesday, with wife Hemlata outside their Martinborough business. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER
When Hiran and Hemlata Patel moved to Martinborough, they thought it would be a short-term thing.
But more than a decade later, the couple are still there and loving life in the South Wairarapa town.
Many people in the community would recognise the Patels as the owners of the popular Jellicoe Four Square.
Originally from the Gujarat state in India, they moved to New Zealand in 2000.
And while Mrs Patel has been a Kiwi since 2005, it took her husband until this week to become a New Zealand citizen.
Mr Patel was one of eight residents in the district to became a Kiwi at a citizenship ceremony, held in the South Wairarapa District Council chambers, on Wednesday.
Half the new citizens originated from Britain, while the remaining three were American, Australian, and Filipina.
The Patels gave up the hustle and bustle of their homeland at the turn of the century and settled in Wellington, until they ditched the capital and moved over the Rimutaka Hill.
“We love living here,” Mrs Patel said.
“We came here thinking we would only stay for two years but 10 years later we are still here.”
The couple have an 11-year-old son, Hamish, who they say is a successful cricketer and soccer player, and a high achiever at Hadlow.
The different lifestyles of India and New Zealand could not be compared, Mr Patel said.
It was “nice and quiet” here, while India was “great for holidays”.
It had been the friendly community that attracted the Patels to make their stay in Martinborough permanent.
“There’s good people here, a good environment, and happy faces.
“In Wellington you don’t know who lives next door, but here you know every person which is really great.”
Mr Patel said running the dairy had kept him busy over the years, and had left him little time to contemplate becoming a citizen of his adopted homeland.
Now, he would be applying for a Kiwi passport, which his wife and son already have, and booking a family holiday to the United States.
“We’ve just been to Aussie, but [Hamish] wants to see Disneyland.”