Auckland, August 21, 2018
New Zealand Indian businesses celebrated Indian Independence Day by hosting a gala dinner at Naumi Hotel in Auckland on August 15, 2018.
‘India@72,’ organised by the New Zealand India Trade Alliance (NZITA), was attended by Diplomats, Ministers, Members of Parliament, top business associations and leaders of various Indian groups.
NZITA Secretary General Sunil Kaushal said, “This is a historic first for New Zealand as we wanted to commemorate Independence Day with the business community and reach out and engage with the wider importers and exporters. Many local events are held by the various Indian associations but this is the first time we engaged with the diplomatic corps, Politicians and Kiwi businesses.”
Indian government initiatives
The event began with the singing of the Indian national anthem followed by a brief address by NZITA Chairman and prominent businessman Giri Gupta.
Mr Gupta encouraged New Zealand companies to take advantage of the various initiatives of the Narendra Modi government like ‘Make in India,’ ‘Swatch Bharat’ and others.
He said that New Zealand companies have a particular opportunity to contribute through their IP, and sought-after kiwi technology.
NZITA India Chapter
Mr Gupta said that NZITA is achieving real trade results for its members.
“There are huge opportunities in India if companies take the time and choose the right partners. India is a very difficult market to navigate if you do not have the right connections or market knowledge. We have recently launched our India Chapter which will provide our members valuable assistance on the ground,” he said.
National Party Deputy Leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett said that the rich Indian culture and business connections are enriching the Kiwi way of life in trade, education, culture, tourism and blended families.
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, she said, “Complete independence will be complete only to the extent of our approach in practice to truth and nonviolence.”
Internal Affairs, Children and Seniors Minister Tracey Martin said, “As the Minister of Seniors, I realised that I was coming to an event for someone who was 72.”
She congratulated the Indian Diaspora and said that as Associates Minister of Education, she is keen to see Hindi being added to the school curriculum since India was an enormous market and Kiwis needed to understand the country better.
Dr Don Brash
NZITA Co-Deputy Chairman and former Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Dr Don Brash gave insights into the New Zealand-India economic relations.
He recalled meeting a young Indian man in Washington in 1968, with whom he became good friends. Thirty years later that man, Bimal Jalan, became the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
“India has made extraordinary progress and will soon become the third largest economy in the world. Its economy is growing at 7% per annum; it has a low rate of inflation at 4% and a fiscal deficit of 3%. That is extraordinary,” he said.
Dr Brash also indicated that Mr Modi will soon announce the largest Health Care Insurance Scheme in the world that will benefit 500 million people.
The event was attended by the Honorary Consuls from 11 different countries and was supported by Presidents of various Indian Associations including the New Zealand Indian Central Association, Waitakere Indian Association, Indian Association of New Zealand, Bihar Jharkhand New Zealand, Uttarakhand New Zealand, Haryanavis New Zealand, Punjabi Association, Auckland Tamil Association, Auckland Malayali Samajam, Telangana Association of New Zealand, Telugu Association of New Zealand Gujarati Samaj and Chinmaya Mission New Zealand.
New Zealand India Trade Alliance (NZITA) is an invitation-only organisation working with stakeholders to establish, build and promote trade, investment, sporting and cultural links between New Zealand and India.
The NZITA board is represented by Industry leaders with vast experience in business, finance, governance, cross border relations, advocacy, trade and international relations.
Business leaders endorsed the initiative of NZITA to bring together Kiwi exporters together for the first time ever in New Zealand and showcase the positive initiatives of the Modi government and the opportunities available for NZ exporters.
Michael Henstock is a Member of the Executive Committee of the New Zealand India Trade Alliance and its Spokesperson.
NZITA Chairman Giri Gupta (Sixth from left) with guests and Association officials at the Independence Day Dinner held on August 15, 2018 (Picture Supplied)