Waitakere Indian Association (WIA) in Auckland, New Zealand has been promoting national identity in the rapidly changing multiethnic New Zealand.
The association achieves the ideal through festivals.
India in general and Hinduism in particular have given the world some festivals which embrace the entire human race and has more integrating and unity significance and meaning, sans divisive religious arguments.
Holi, the Festival of Colours is one of them.
It promotes and enhances race relations, especially for those who have settled in their adopted country.
WIA is organising the annual Holi festival to coincide with Race Relations Day and Children’s Day, all of which are marked in March this year.
Waitakere Holi Festival, better known as ‘Rang Barse Holi Mela’ will be celebrated from midday on March 11, 2012 at the Trusts Stadium Grounds Central Park Drive, in Henderson, Auckland.
Race Relations Day is the time to reflect on our journey as a culturally diverse nation. Each year, March 21 is observed around the globe as the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.’
The Human Rights Commission reiterates that Race Relations Day is a time when our community can do something to celebrate, learn, discuss, plan and promote the value of cultural diversity, emphasising the need to support harmonious race relations.
WIA has been a shining light in promoting diversity.
Children’s Day is a time when thousands of children will receive hugs and love from their parents, relatives, caregivers and seniors in the society.
This day is celebrated on the first Sunday of March (March 4 this year) this year.
But any day can be made a special day for children.
The theme of this year, as in 2011, is ‘Love and Affection’.
There will be abundance of that at the Rang Barse Holi Mela.
There is an impressive lineup of cultural items that will shake the stage as happened last year, while the traditional ‘Faag Gaayan’ will take us back in time to the village of Fiji where the faag mandalis sing the traditional chorus of ‘Holi khele raghubira.’
Music and dance
This year we will have repeat of public participation in dancing and merry-making in the park, like Bollywood style and Garba style.
DJ Gabroo with DJ music will provide enthralling dance numbers.
What is the significance of Holi for people of Indian origin and other ethnic groups in modern New Zealand Australia, UK, US and Canada?
The answer is that the uniformity of colours binds us as one people, one nation.
New Zealand politicians, community leaders and guests at last year’s celebration commended the Waitakere Indian community for the all-encompassing carnival.
They echoed the sentiments that New Zealand was happy to have migrants, who assisted the country, lifted its economic ability and brought their colorful cultures.
These added to the brightness of the country and created a colourful cultural landscape in New Zealand.
Thakur Ranjit Singh is Coordinator of Waitakere Holi Festival.
What: Rang Barse Holi Mela
Organiser: Waitakere Indian Association
For whom: Anyone keen on fellowship and goodwill
Where: Trusts Stadium Grounds, Central Park Drive
When: Sunday, March 11, 2012 from 12 pm