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Thread: INZ strikes even the rich and famous

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    Default INZ strikes even the rich and famous

    Sorry, no Riff Raff allowed
    By KIMBERLY ROTHWELL - The Dominion Post
    Last updated 05:00 05/06/2010

    A Kiwi icon so famous that a statue was erected in his honour is being denied New Zealand citizenship.

    Richard O'Brien, the New Zealand-raised creator of The Rocky Horror Show, has been told he can't retire here.

    The 68-year-old British-born writer and actor is now appealing to Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman for help.

    O'Brien, who lives in London, has been back to New Zealand regularly since the 1960s and wants to retire to Katikati, where he has a 2-acre property. But his immigration adviser, Dion Smart, says he doesn't fit the criteria for citizenship or permanent residency.

    Two of O'Brien's siblings, Robin Smith and Gillian Page, live in Tauranga, as did their parents until they died about four years ago. According to immigration requirements, to be sponsored by either of his siblings for permanent residency in New Zealand, O'Brien has to be aged 55 or under, and have secured a job offer criteria he doesn't fit.

    O'Brien says he thinks his application should be "rubber- stamped" in light of his contribution to New Zealand.

    "I don't understand they build a statue of me and celebrate me as a New Zealander, but I have to go on my knees and do all sorts of things, and I'm probably too old."

    He came to New Zealand as a 10-year-old with his family from Britain in 1952.

    He spent his teenage years and early 20s in Hamilton and Tauranga. He left in 1964 for London.

    In 2004, he was honoured with a statue in Hamilton of his Rocky Horror character, the creepy butler Riff Raff, erected on the site of the barber shop where he worked before leaving for Britain.

    His son Josh came to New Zealand on a student visa about four years ago and is applying for residency. Mr Smart says that having such close family ties to New Zealand should help his case.

    O'Brien has often spoken in interviews about growing up in New Zealand and the influence it had on his life and work. Some of the songs from Rocky Horror were inspired by incidents in his youth here.

    "I regret not getting citizenship before I went away to the UK. I thought I was only going on a one-year working holiday. I'm very proud of New Zealand. What it gave me was it's classlessness. It's a meritocracy. In 1964, Britain was a very class-run society, but I was indifferent to that."

    Waikato film-maker Fiona Jackson, who directed the film An Evening with Richard O'Brien, says she's shocked he doesn't have New Zealand citizenship. "We've claimed him as our own. You would think making it legally so would be a formality."

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    Default No citizenship bid from 'Rocky Horror' creator

    No citizenship bid from 'Rocky Horror' creator
    By Derek Cheng
    4:00 AM Wednesday Jun 9, 2010

    Rocky Horror Picture Show creator Richard O'Brien's chances of being granted New Zealand citizenship will be greatly enhanced if he actually applied for it, says the Prime Minister.

    O'Brien, who was 10 when he came to New Zealand with his parents in 1952, has been told that he is not eligible for citizenship and was reportedly appealing to Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman.

    But John Key said yesterday that no application from O'Brien had been received.

    "I have subsequently checked with my officials and found that Immigration has received no application from Mr O'Brien.

    "My advice to Mr O'Brien is, if he wants to live permanently in New Zealand, to lodge an application with the authorities and it will be considered, as are all other applications, on its merits."

    It is possible that O'Brien was advised that he did not meet requirements for citizenship or permanent residency, and did not lodge an application.

    A spokesman for Dr Coleman said speculation that a request had been denied was wrong.

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    Default Rocky Horror creator a step closer to Kiwi passport

    Rocky Horror creator a step closer to Kiwi passport
    By TOM HUNT - The Dominion Post
    Last updated 05:00 08/09/2010

    Richard O'Brien has New Zealand residency after Government intervention.

    O'Brien's immigration adviser, Dion Smart, has confirmed the Government has now officially approved residency for New Zealand-raised O'Brien, creator of The Rocky Horror Show.

    O'Brien, who was born in Britain and lives there at present, would now seek a Government waiver to speed up becoming a New Zealand citizen, Mr Smart said.

    The Dominion Post revealed last month that Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson had pledged to make an exception for O'Brien to the usual residency criteria that applicants be 55 or under and have a job offer in New Zealand.

    O'Brien, 68, has passed police and health checks, meaning his residency has been approved. Mr Smart said an application would now be made to Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy to waive the usual requirement for people to have had residency for five years before applying for citizenship.

    O'Brien told The Dominion Post last month he would prefer to have his citizenship, another step to becoming a New Zealander, "rubber-stamped".

    "I don't want anybody to think I'm grandstanding. All I wanted to do is belong. It's always been home. I feel a big swell of love and generosity of spirit all around me in New Zealand. I'm a peculiar-looking person. I'm a trannie, but I'm their trannie."

    O'Brien has been back to New Zealand regularly since the 1960s and wants to retire to Katikati, north of Tauranga, where he has a 2 1/2-acre property. Two of his siblings live in Tauranga. His son, who lives in Wellington, is also applying for residency.

    O'Brien came to New Zealand as a 10-year-old with his family in 1952. He spent his teenage years and early 20s in Hamilton and Tauranga. He left in 1964 for London.

    In 2004, he was honoured with a statue in Hamilton of his Rocky Horror character, the creepy butler Riff Raff, erected on the site of the barber shop where he worked before leaving for Britain.

    Mr Smart said O'Brien was "very pleased" his residency application had been approved. He is expected to be the narrator in a New Zealand tour of The Rocky Horror Show in October.

    However, he is still expected to share his time between New Zealand and Europe, where he had theatrical commitments.

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    Mother Bear

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