MidCoast Council welcomed 22 of Australia’s newest citizens at a recent Citizenship Ceremony in Taree.
MidCoast Council’s Mayor, David West and General Manager, Adrian Panuccio, had the honour of officiating the proceedings to welcome new citizens into Australia from 15 countries.
“Citizenship Ceremonies are one of Council’s most special events, and it’s a privilege to be a part of them,” said Mayor West.
Among the conferees were Rahmon Yekinni, Aida Elawad, Johanna Van De Vis, Adnan Farooqi, and his daughter Aleena Farooqi.
Rahmon made the incredibly brave decision to emigrate to Australia from Nigeria in February 2015. His whole family emigrated to America, but he had other plans!
He asked the immigration official, “Where is a country where I can do a master’s degree?” The answer had him choosing between Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Rahmon came to Australia with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and gained a master’s in nursing from The University of New England in Armidale.
From there, he began work as a registered nurse in Taree and now works at Manning Rural Referral Hospital as a Clinical Nurse Educator in Mental Health.
“My favourite thing about Australia is that people are really friendly and very accommodating compared to other countries. I was worried about moving to regional areas, in case people weren’t accepting of my culture, but that hasn’t been my experience at all,” he said.
Aida emigrated to Australia from Sudan in 2015. What encouraged her to settle in Taree was the opportunity to work as a paediatrician at Manning Rural Referral Hospital.
“Taree is a beautiful place, and the people here are very nice,” she said.
Her favourite thing about Australia is barbeques!
Johanna from Taree said it’s “only taken me 63 years” to become an Australian citizen, although she emigrated from the Netherlands when she was seven years old.
She grew up in Blacktown, Sydney and followed her parents to the MidCoast region many years ago, where they operated a grocery store in Wingham’s Combine Street. Tragically the store burnt down in the early 1970s.
She’s lived in Taree for 47 years and raised five children – two girls and three boys here.
“My favourite thing about Australia would be indigenous art – I think it’s very beautiful,” said Johanna.
Adnan and his family emigrated to Sydney from Saudi Arabia in 2016. Following his wife’s need to complete her training program as a General Practitioner, they moved to Wingham in 2018 and lived there until April 2019, when they decided to move to Taree.
Adnan works from home as a Business Analyst with Essential Energy in Port Macquarie.
“My favourite Australian custom is barbeques. I really enjoy walking along the river and talking to everyone. Living in the Manning is very warm – everyone is friendly and will stop to have a chat about a random topic,” he said.
The Farooqi family also welcomed baby Abdullah just 16 days before the ceremony!
“I congratulate all our region’s newest citizens on pledging their allegiance to Australia and wish them all the best for the future,” said Mayor West.