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New Kiwis celebrate citizenship

Mayor Viv Napier, with South Wairarapa’s Steve Coleman and his wife, Melinda, who have become New Zealand citizens. PHOTOS/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
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Ocean Beach is a long way from Latvia, where Zane McCreary is originally from.

Zane McCreary, from Latvia, with husband, Craig, and their children Olivia, 7, and Niv, 4. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER
Zane McCreary, from Latvia, with husband, Craig, and their children Olivia, 7, and Niv, 

But she has made the coastal South Wairarapa community her home, and her sense of belonging was strengthened on Wednesday when she became a citizen.
Mrs McCreary was one of 21 people granted New Zealand citizenship at a ceremony in Greytown. Her journey to New Zealand started in London, where she gained a fashion degree.
“In the last year of studies, I met Craig, who is from Ocean Beach.”
He had been “very convincing” in persuading her to return to New Zealand with him.
“As soon as we got here, that was it.”
Mrs McCreary said there were vast differences between the landscapes of New Zealand and Latvia, which was “completely flat”.
She was “not a country person” so living at remote Ocean Beach took some getting used to, she said.
“It was a huge change but I have really adapted to this lifestyle and I love it.”
The couple have two children, Olivia, 7, and Niv, 4, who attend Kahutara School.
Mrs McCreary said since opening her Greytown store, ‘Linarte’, last year, she was meeting more people from her homeland.
Eighteen of the new South Wairarapa citizens were from Britain.
One of them was Steve Coleman, who is the director of sport at Rathkeale College, as well as New Zealand’s secondary school head coach for football.
Originally from Hertfordshire, England, Mr Coleman came to New Zealand in 2007 to play cricket for Greytown.
“Then I met a girl and the rest is history,” he said.
Becoming a citizen “doesn’t change a hell of a lot” for Mr Coleman, who already considers himself “a pretty proud Kiwi”.
He said he felt privileged driving to work every weekday from Martinborough to Masterton.
“The view out the window . . . we’re pretty lucky to have that lifestyle in New Zealand.”
South African-born Brendan Cunningham became a citizen after nine years residing in the country.
A senior tutor at Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, he has been living in Featherston for more than two years and “absolutely adores” Wairarapa.
Mr Cunningham said his grandfather was born in England and moved to New Zealand, where he worked as a shepherd in Napier.
“Then he went to South Africa for the war and that’s how my family ended up there.
“And now I’m back here so it’s like a big circle — I’m back to my roots in an odd sort of way.”

 

The new South Wairarapa citizens.
The new South Wairarapa citizens.

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