Holi is emerging as another festival popular among a cross-section of the New Zealand society as reports of this year’s celebrations show.
The Festival, organised by the Waitakere Indian Association at Trusts Stadium on March 31 attracted more than 4500 men, women and children not only from West Auckland but also from other parts of the City and beyond.
With a number of stalls selling food and several groups providing entertainment, it was perhaps the largest Holi event in the country.
Association Secretary Sunil Chandra, former Presidents Manoj Tahal and Anand Naidu led a team of organisers to put together an event that will be remembered as a programme promoting social and communal harmony as they also marked Race Relations Day with a difference.
Labour Members of Parliament Phil Twyford and Dr Rajen Prasad, Auckland Council Ethnic Advisory Board Chair Camille Nakhid, community leader Ann Pala, Manakau Santan Secretary Vijendra Prasad, ANZ Bank India Relations Head Sunil Kaushal, Radio Tarana Programme Presenter Dr Parmjeet Parmar spoke at the event.
An elaborate programme of entertainment added to the festival. Among the participants were performers from the Shiv Shakti Group, Waitakere College Bollywood Group, Jaswin Singh Group, Dreams of Fire Group, Naj Da Punjab and Chetanya.
The Sulphur City was full of colour as the Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) marked Holi with its usual factor of inclusiveness on March 23.
Organiser Dr Guna Magesan said that Holi in Rotorua was more energetic this year, compared to its predecessors, thanks to the involvement of the younger members of the society.
“It was fitting that many youngsters celebrated Holi with different colours, bringing various community groups together. It was symbolic of an important international day that was eventful,” he said.
Commemorating Holi along with Race Relations Day brought added value to Wellingtonians with wide-ranging activities organised by the Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) with Hutt Multicultural Council.
Called ‘Multifest,’ it was held in Lower Hutt on March 23.
HCNZ Public Relations Officer Dr Rajiv Chaturvedi said that the rich symbolism of intermingling of Holi colours blended spectacularly for the Hutt and Wellington communities.
“People celebrate it by covering each other with coloured powder and drenching with coloured water. On this day, social and class hierarchies break down and personal differences bridged, as people and communities gather in a spirit of festivity.”
Dr Chaturvedi said that a Maori delegation travelled to India last year with the HCNZ and participated in the Holi celebrations held in Jaipur, the capital of the North Indian State of Rajasthan.
“The delegation also attended the fourth international conference of Elders of Ancient Cultures in Haridwar on that trip, where a remarkable part of Maori history of 1870s was brought to wider notice,” he said.