Communities pour their hearts into Gandhi Nivas

Venkat Raman

The Gandhi Nivas Project, a unique experiment of a few from the South Asian Advisory Board of Counties Manukau Police, received a loud applause at a fundraising dinner held on Wednesday, April 23 at India Gate Hall, located above Bikanervala in Papatoetoe.

As well as mobilising larger-than-expected amount, the event brought to the fore the fact that people will pour out their hearts and valets for the right cause, implemented by the right people with the right intention.

Overwhelming support

Ethnic Communities Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, Members of Parliament Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Melissa Lee (National), Jenny Salesa (Labour), Mahesh Bindra (NZ First) and Giri Gupta were among about 200 people who attended the event, representing a cross-section of the community.

New Zealand Police was represented by Deputy Chief Executive Maori Superintendent Wallace Haumaha, National Ethnic Advisor Inspector Rakesh Naidoo, and Counties Manukau Maori Responsive Manager Inspector Nga-Wati Chaplow, Crime Prevention Manager Inspector Bronwyn Marshall and Sergeant Gurpreet Singh Arora.

Event Highlights

Among the highlights of the evening were a lecture by celebrity speaker Kaajal Oza Vaidya and an auction conducted by Roger Burrill. Prime Minister John Key donated a bottle of wine with his autograph, Trelise Cooper gave away a beaded jacket and two tickets for a private fashion show and many other commercial organisations donated their products or services. The auction helped to raise more than $9000.

Communities pour their hearts out-Kaajal Oza Vaidya speaking 1 Communities pour their hearts- Minister Peseta Sam speakingA special mention was made of Ratna Venkat who forfeited her Birthday Party to present ‘Vaishnava Jana To’ a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi in Bharata Natyam style, ymbolising peace and harmony; Nikhil Deo (HDev who performed free as DJ) and Stephen Pressmore of Snap Printing (an Australian-owned Group) for complimentary printing services.

Melissa Lee, who was the Master of Ceremonies, outlined the importance of supporting projects such as Gandhi Nivas.

Violence roots

In her speech, Ms Vaidya said that hatred is often the root cause of violence, disturbing family life and upsetting peace and harmony.

“We should learn to love and understand each other, promote goodwill and love and foster the society with tolerance and mutual self-respect. Empowerment of women is an important step in the progress of any society,” she said.

Major donors

Among the major donors (financial, material and human resources) of the fundraising dinner were Total Health Care, the Nirvana Health Group, which also comprises the East Tamaki Group of Health Clinics and Pharmacies, Dr Kanti, Ranjna and Rakesh Patel; India Gate Restaurant and India Gate Party Hall Directors Shivani and Kuldeep Arora, Roshila Prasad of Humm FM (106.2 FM) and Trelise Cooper, the famous fashion designer.

The largest donors at the dinner were Indra Sirigiri and his son Rahul (Link2 Services Limited), who, apart from an earlier cash donation, purchased two tickets for a private fashion show given away by Trelise Cooper. Among the other donors were Ajay Kumar (Global Financial Services Limited), Roshan Nauhria (Nauhria Limited), Mahesh Bindra, Meena Reddy, Rohit Reddy (The Reddy Group Limited), Prahlad Gupta (Bank of Baroda New Zealand Limited), Ravi Mehta (Professional Financial Solutions Limited), Lawrence Ponniah (Corban Revell Lawyers) and Mahesh Ranchhod (The Ranchhod Group).

Gandhi Nivas origin

Earlier, outlining the objectives and implementation of the Project, Ms Patel said that two reports released in March 2015 had recommended a different approach to family violence in New Zealand.

“There should be activity at Ministry level, but we will not hold our breath,” she said.

Ms Patel said that she decided to take up the challenge posed by Counties Manukau District Police Superintendent John Tims to the South Asian Advisory Board of which she, Indian Newslink Editor, Sergeant Gurpreet Singh, Ibrar Sheikh, Moses Singh and Nimmi Bedi are members) to suggest new ideas and make a difference in the community.

“We had several consultations with community counselling providers and identified why

South Asians were featuring prominently in family violence data, including the fact that half of all homicides in New Zealand are related to family violence. Police attend to a family violence incident every five-and-half minutes, although only about 20% of family violence are reported,” she said.

This designated facility assists in achieving that sense of safety for victims by ensuring they stay in their own homes and providing temporary accommodation for men involved in family violence and providing support such as counselling to address underlying issues and seek solutions moving forward, she added.

Details of Gandhi Nivas appeared in our April 15, 2015 issue.

Indian Newslink will continue to promote this important, community project continuously, encouraging people to extend their monetary and material support.

Photo :

  1. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi with Ranjna Patel, Amrat Ranchhod (‘Mahatma Gandhi’) Jaya and Rahul Sirigiri
  2. Peseta Sam Lotu-liga speaking
  3. Celebrity Speaker Kaajal Oza Vaidya


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