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From Tampa to Junior All White

July 7, 2005
Media Release

From Tampa to Junior All White

Refugee gets citizenship so he can represent New Zealand

A young Tampa refugee will tomorrow become a New Zealand citizen so that he can play for the Junior All Whites soccer team in Hong Kong.

Northcote MP Ann Hartley will conduct a citizenship ceremony tomorrow afternoon for Mokhtar Mohammadi, a young Afghani man rescued from the ship Tampa and now living in Northcote.

Ms Hartley said that Mokhtar nearly missed out on the Hong Kong competition because he was not eligible for a New Zealand passport.

“When we realised what was happening, Ethnic Affairs Minister Chris Carter, Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins and I moved as quickly as possible to sort the problem out,” she said.

“Mokhtar is entitled to a passport under a clause in the Immigration Act which allows a passport to be issued if a person has been selected for a national team.”

The ceremony will be held at 3.30pm tomorrow (Friday) at Ann Hartley’s office, 88 Birkenhead Ave, Birkenhead. The team leaves for Hong Kong on July 16.

Ends

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