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As Kiwi as cricket

Ten new citizens were confirmed as New Zealanders in Martinborough on Thursday. PHOTO/MARCUS ANSELM

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The captain of the reborn Featherston Cricket Club was among 10 citizens welcomed as New Zealanders in Martinborough on Thursday night.

Bhairav Patel, his wife Ekta and eight other South Wairarapa residents were confirmed as Kiwis in a ceremony at Martinborough’s Waihinga Centre.

Patel has lived in the country for 15 years, the last four in South Wairarapa.

“It’s really good, I’m feeling really well. Now I’m a local town boy.”

Patel spent seven years in Auckland, and then Masterton before heading further south four years ago.

“All the people are lovely in Featherston. It’s like a family. Featherston is one big family, and it’s a really loveable place.”

Patel said the new team, reformed this year, was another enjoyable aspect of living in the district.

“We are just new in cricket right now. It’s a good thing, everyone’s enjoying it and there’s more to come next season.”

Also welcomed as a New Zealander was Brad Atte la Crouche. The former British army soldier also lives in Featherston and is vice-president of the town’s RSA.

Atte la Crouche, who works in Wellington, said the Featherston people made him feel at home even before he was a citizen.

“Featherston is an amazing village with amazing humans in it. Once you’ve settled and become a local, you are one. That’s the thing I fell in love with.”

It was a first citizenship ceremony for new South Wairarapa mayor Alex Beijen. Several elected members and district council officials were also on hand to greet the new citizens.

South Wairarapa’s new New Zealanders are Daniel King [UK], Rose Ann Brixton [Phillipines], Martina Kershaw [UK], Marlise Van der Nest [South Africa], Ekta Patel [India], Johann Verryne [South Africa], Valerie McConachy [UK], Michelle King [Australia/Ireland], Bhairav Patel [India] and Brad Atte la Crouche [UK].


  1. It was a lovely, informal, friendly ceremony. It was good to be there to support my niece, Marlise van der Nest. She heard the next day that she has completed her Bachelor of Nursing studies and she got a nursing job offer!

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