Community & Environment

Citizenship ceremony forges cultures together

Citizenship ceremonies celebrate the merging of new Kiwis’ native culture and their adopted home.

The union of two cultures is something Sylvia Sinel negotiates every day, with her ceramic art both influenced by her Swedish heritage and inspired by the New Zealand setting it’s made in.

Sylvia received her New Zealand citizenship this week at a ceremony organised by Hamilton City Council.

The 47-year-old moved to New Zealand in 2013 with her Hamiltonian husband, Roger, and their two sons.

“I think Hamilton’s a great place,” she told “It has a very vibrant cultural scene. Everything is very accessible and there’s always a lot happening.”

The relocation doubled as the opportunity to finally follow her dream of being a fulltime artist.

“I was a finance manager in Sweden for many years, but art has always been my passion,” she says. “It was a natural break – now or never.”

She was joined by 118 fellow new Kiwis from 21 countries at the citizenship ceremony.

“That [diversity] is what I really like about New Zealand,” she says. “There are opportunities here for people if they want to contribute to the community. It feels like there are lots of possibilities.”

After running a retail store for her pottery creations in Queenwood, she now offers tuition from her home studio in Ngahinapouri.

Her art can be found in outlets across the city, including ArtsPost Galleries and Shop, managed by the Council.

“I’m not trying to do Scandinavian style but it’s probably in my genes from being born and brought up there,” she says of her artistic approach. “And I love the colours of New Zealand.”

Click here to view images from the citizenship ceremony.

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