SOUTHLAND welcomed 16 new citizens at the district council’s citizenship ceremony last week.
Among them was a Winton man who now holds three nationalities.
Yousef Fayiz Ahmad Wshah (36) was born in Brazil, and lived most of his life in Jordan before moving to New Zealand eight years ago in pursuit of a better quality of life for his family.
He now lives with his wife Fida and his two sons Fares and Saif in Winton, where he works as a chef.
Mr Wshah said he appreciated his roots and the countries he had lived in, but the New Zealand citizenship had a special place in his heart.
“I was a chef of a five-star hotel in Jordan where I had the opportunity to cook for superstars like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.
“However, I would never swap the safety that I feel here in New Zealand. I feel very honoured and happy to become a citizen of this country. My children can be raised in this safe and friendly environment.”
Philippines-born Welita Andrada Galamay was emotional during the ceremony.
She had been living in Southland for 10 years with her husband, Rodel Pastor Ranilloza.
When asked what her favourite thing about New Zealand was, her answer puzzled some ceremony attendees.
“The people and the weather. Everybody looks at me weirdly when I say that but it’s true. I really love Southland’s weather. I came from a really hot country so I appreciate the chilly weather
citizens were given kowhai trees as a symbol of having put down roots in this country.