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Here to stay . . . New citizens (back, from left) Mahendra Mani, Shivika Mani (both Fiji), Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, Devon Nolan (South Africa), Timothy Hutchinson (Britain), Cesar Gallardo (Chile), Binoy Mukundan (India), Shiao Chua (Singapore), My Valentine (Vietnam) Sulita Mani (Fiji, holding son Manishil), and (front) Mithali Manoj, Neethu Thomas (both India), Ashlin Rao, Poonam Kumar (both Fiji), Rebecca Hutchinson (Britain), Ruth Tasker (Britain), Carrie Gibson (Canada) and Chatcha McCulloch (Thailand), at Waitaki's citizenship ceremony on Monday. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Now that Timothy and Rebecca Hutchinson have settled in, they have no plans to leave Oamaru.

The English couple were among 17 Waitaki residents who became official New Zealand citizens at a ceremony held at the Oamaru Opera House on Monday, after being sworn in and reading out their oaths and affirmations.

Mr Hutchinson, from Leicester, and Mrs Hutchinson, from Nottingham, have been in Oamaru for about five years after they spent about a decade living in the Wairau Valley, in Marlborough.

Mr Hutchinson, who served for 23 years with the Royal Air Force as an aircraft engineer and now work as a maintenance engineer at Canterbury Spinners, said the move was all about a change of scenery.

“It was just so we could see a different part of the country, really. We had 10 years of rural life, so we wanted to try a bit of town life in the metropolis of Oamaru.”

The couple enjoyed the lifestyle Oamaru offered.

“There’s everything for everybody,” he said.

Mrs Hutchinson, who runs her own telemarketing business, said she and her husband now called Oamaru home and “definitely” wanted to stay long-term.

After the new citizens were sworn in and presented with their documents and a welcoming gift in the form of a potted plant, a short welcome video that featured Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy was played.

Hampden School’s choir then led the national anthem before a group and individual photo session and afternoon tea.