Diwali is one of the most important and ancient of Indian festivals and has specific spiritual meanings in Hinduism and other religions as a celebration of the victory of Good over Evil and the uplifting of spiritual darkness.
It is, of course, a particularly special time for Indian families to mark the year that has past and look forward to the New Year with the hope of prosperity, health and joy.
Symbolised by the lighting of lamps, the Festival of Lights has grown to hold a much wider significance.
For members of the Indian Diaspora, in both New Zealand and elsewhere, it symbolises the best traditions of Indian culture and history and their connection to the land of their ancestors.
As a festival that speaks of bringing light to darkness, Diwali also sends a powerful message of peace. It urges people of all faiths, denominations and cultures to reach out across the divisions that separate us, one from another, and to seek reconciliation and understanding.
It is with great pleasure that I send my best regards to everyone attending Diwali celebrations this year.
I wish you all a very Happy Diwali!
Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand is Governor-General of New Zealand