Kiwis foster cultural bond with Diwali markers

New Zealand has been the home for Indians since the late 19th century with the arrival of the early settlers from Gujarat and Punjab and over the years, the country has witnessed tens of thousands of people of Indian origin relocating to this country as immigrants, expatriates and students.

While the initial reaction of Indians arriving from India has always been one of amazement taking in the country’s breath-taking beauty with its clean and green environment, they soon settle themselves to a life of fulfilment, pursuing their interests.

Indians and other members of the Subcontinent communities arriving from other parts of the world are equally amused by the country, its land and people try to integrate themselves into the mainstream of the social fabric but seek with equal enthusiasm an identity within their ethnic groups.

Cultural programmes including classical music, dance and drama have helped to highlight the rich cultural heritage of India, even as the country’s culinary delicacies have whetted the appetite of a growing number of European, Maori and Pacific Islander population in the country.

And religious festivals enhance human understanding.

While Muslim observances including Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha and Christian festivities such as Christmas and Easter are not restricted to the Indian community, festivals of the Hindu, Punjabi and Farsi communities are of Indian origin.

A unique status

The Festival of Lights has a unique status among them.

Diwali has become an item in the country’s social calendar and with places of worship such as Temples and Gurdwaras and Associations organising festivities, commencing with Navaratri (September 23 to October 3 this year) and related prayers and social and community activities.

As Prime Minister John Key says, “Diwali brings to the fore the colourful culture and history that India holds with pride and it is heartening to see the Indian community preserving its traditional and social values. The Festival of Lights reminds us of the presence of a vibrant community which contributes to the progress and development of New Zealand.”

Mr Key is also confident that Indians would reap the benefits, along with other New Zealanders of a well-performing economy.

As in the past, the Festival of Lights will be held at several venues, under several banners in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch, Tauranga and other cities.

Auckland Indian Association

Ashok Darji

I am delighted to greet Indian Newslink readers on the auspicious occasion of Diwali. I also extend my best wishes to everyone in our community in New Zealand and around the world.

Diwali is the most significant festival of the year for people of Indian origin. May the Divine light of Diwali spread Peace, Prosperity, Happiness and Good Health for all.

Auckland Indian Association Inc will conduct its ‘Diwali in Concert’ on Sunday, October 19, 2014 at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre, 145, New North Road, Eden Terrace, Central Auckland. The programme, commencing at 730 pm, will comprise music, dance and other items. Entry is free and open to all.

For further details, please contact Ramesh Bhagwan on 021-2531647.

Ashok Darji is President of the Auckland Indian Association.

Auckland Retailers Association

Raj Chand

Hunters Corner in Papatoetoe is a flourishing business and shopping centre for people of Indian origin and the Auckland Indian Retailers Association has been working for the Indian business community since its inception.

The Executive team of the Association has been striving hard to ensure that Diwali becomes a significant event in the Auckland calendar.

The Association has been encouraging businesses in Papatoetoe and other parts of Auckland to decorate their premises during October. It has started a competition in conjunction with the local Community Board to award the Best Decorated Business premises. Retailers are urged to participate more actively as Diwali marks a major shopping period for Indian clothing and crafts.

Diwali Market

The Association has been instrumental in organising the Diwali Market Day and Diwali Festival with Radio Tarana. Unfortunately, the weather affected the main event this year but the Market Day was a great success for the local retailers.

Gurdwara Scenes

Takanini Auckland

Daljit Singh

Sikhs all over the country will mark Diwali at various Gurdwaras with piety and gaiety, special to the community. Families and friends will exchange greetings, sweets and enjoy Langar at these places of worship.

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the Diwali Festival at Gurdwara Sri Kalgidhar Sahib in the South Auckland suburb of Takanini on Thursday, October 23, 2014. Festivities will begin at 6 pm with prayers and Kirtans and conclude with spectacular fireworks at the Gurdwara’s sports field at 1030 pm.

Daljit Singh, Spokesperson of the Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand, which organises the event every year, said that the Festival is open to all friends of the Sikh community, irrespective of their religion or faith.

“Inderjit Singh from the Golden temple in Amritsar, India will perform the Kirtans on the Diwali night,” he said.

Further details can be obtained from him on 021-803512. Email: daljit@xtra.co.nz

Sikhs lighting lamps at the Takanini Gurdwara to mark Diwali 2013

Papatoetoe Auckland

Raj Bedi

Gurdwara Sri Dasmesh Darbar located at 166 Kolmar Road in Papatoetoe will mark Diwali on Thursday, October 23, commencing with morning prayers at 530 am.

The day’s programme would include Sukhmani Sahib Paath (11 am), Rehraas Sahib Path (630 pm), Special Kirtan and Katha (7 pm), Lighting candles and fireworks (9 pm).

Guru ka Langar (Free community food) will be served to all visitors.

Sikhs mark Diwali as ‘Bandi Chor Diwas’ (Freedom from prison) since it was on this day that Guru Hargobind Sahib, the sixth Sikh Guru was released from the Gwalior prison by Mughal King Jahangir.

On his way out, the Guru took with him 52 Kings held captive for a long time. On his arrival in Amritsar, the Golden Temple was illuminated.

Raj Bedi is Secretary of the Auckland Sikh Society Inc, which owns and manages Gurdwara Sri Dasmesh Darbar, 166 Kolmar Road, Papatoetoe. The picture here shows Diwali festivities in 2013.

Shirdi Saibaba Temple

The Shirdi Saibaba Temple, which has been busy since its opening on February 6, 2014, will celebrate Diwali with Lakshmi Pooja on Thursday, October 23, 2014 from 630 pm to 730 pm. Further details can be obtained from Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan of New Zealand Inc President Bhaskar Reddy Duvvuru. Email: president@shirdisaibaba.org.nz

The Temple is located at 12 Princes Street, Onehunga, Auckland.

The Main Deity at the Shirdi Saibaba Temple

New Zealand Telugu Association

Jagadeeshwar Reddy Patlolla

About 800 men, women and children are expected to attend the Diwali Festival of the New Zealand Telugu Association at Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls Grammar School, Newton on Saturday, October 25, 2014.

The Programme will be held from 530 pm to 930 pm, among the highlights of which would be a bouquet of music and dance, followed by dinner.

Those interested in participating in the cultural programme should fill the prescribed form and email to nztaevents@gmail.com with a copy to mjreddy10@gmail.com and jrpatlolla@gmail.com

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