22 March 2014


It wasn't easy!

Well, part of it was the money.  In 1990 - or whenever it was that we were told that we needn't give up our US citizenship to become Kiwis - the cost was $130/adult, children free - $260 for our family.

In 1998 - I think we started the process in early 1998 - it was $260 per person, everyone pays the same - $1300 for the family :-(  Now it would be $1645.70!

And the fee is non-refundable :-)

Friends of mine, who have applied for citizenship, have said it has taken them a couple of months.  We applied, probably in January or February, 1998.

It took over a year.  I think my citizenship was granted at the end of March, 1999.

The reason for the long delay, a friend who knows about these things told me, was that we had (a) lived in New Zealand on two separate occasions as permanent residents - from 1973-1976 and then from 1984 to the time we applied; (b) we had lived in New Zealand for quite a long time before applying for citizenship. Both things meant that they had to search a great many details about out history - police records, I suppose - and that in 1998, most of those records were paper records and getting them would require using the post - snail mail.

For the matter of that, I think we were required to get police clearances from the various parts of the world we had lived in.

So we waited.  The grant of citizenship finally came through.  Did we receive it in January or February, 1999? About then, I think.  The oath-taking ceremony took place in March.  Johnny, of course, had New Zealand citizenship by birth.  Helen, Eddie, and Adele were to accompany Susan and me to the ceremony in Pukekohe in March.

Eddie forgot :-)

He did attend his own ceremony later - perhaps April or May.

I may say that the whole thing moved me.  Although Susan and I were adults, when we left the United States, we had lived in New Zealand for all but eight of the 26 years between February, 1973 (when we arrived) and early 1999 (when we became citizens).  Those eight years had been spent in Yap, but even during those years, our orientation was more towards New Zealand than towards the US.  Our church membership - which was definitely constitutional for us - was at the Reformed Church of Avondale.  Our correspondences with friends our own age were with New Zealanders - 'specially Ross Jackson and Richard Flinn.  We had few ties with the US, strong ties with New Zealand.

So this was making official what I felt had long been implicit; we were Kiwis for long before we were citizens. Singing the national anthem is something I cannot take for granted.

We were now all citizens, in any case.  A good job, too - because well before the ceremony took place, the centrifuge had built up speed.  14 November, 1998 saw a great flight of birds from the Jensen nest.

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