Indian Association of New Zealand sets ambitious goals
Auckland, April 5, 2017
The Manukau Indian Association (MIA) will henceforth be known as the ‘Indian Association of New Zealand’ (IANZ).
The decision was taken by a unanimous vote at the Association’s Annual General Meeting held on April 2.
“The new name reflects the fast-changing profile of the Indian diaspora and better represents the association’s influence in the community and the direction in which we are moving,” Suresh Ramji, who was elected IANZ President, said.
The history of the Association dates to 1979, when a few Gujarati and Punjabi Indian families living in South Auckland decided to teach their children their mother tongue.
Classes were started in hired rooms at the Papatoetoe Central Primary school on weekends. The parent would bring their children and wait until they finished.
They would engage in conversation with each other and in groups. Discussions would be around community, education and other issues.
This ‘forced’ Association turned into lifelong friendships and led to the formation of the ‘South Auckland Indian Cultural Society Inc.’
The main aim was to preserve and promote Indian culture, hold language classes, celebrate festivals and pass this heritage on to a new generation.
Inclusive and Modern
In 1980, the Society raised funds and purchased a property at 25 Tui Road, Papatoetoe to serve as their headquarters.
However, over the years, the evolving demographics and increase in migration led to many changes. Manukau, which was relatively unknown in the early 1980s had transformed into a thriving suburb. Therefore, in 1997, the Society was renamed, ‘Manukau Indian Association.’ This was an inclusive, diverse and modern association.
In the last 20 years, the world itself has changed.
IANZ Communications Director Roy Kaunds said that in the global, multimedia, digital age, the name ‘Manukau Indian Association’ sounded like a private suburban club catering to the small local community.
“It restricts our scope of activities and does not accurately reflect what we do. Today, we have Indians from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Fiji to South Africa, as our members. We also do a lot of work with the wider community and engage with people across New Zealand,” he said.
Outgoing President Veer Khar, who has completed his constitutionally-limited three-year term, agreed.
“The current lot of Indians who moved to New Zealand after 2000 and our Millennials are a different demographic. They have different aspirations, backgrounds, tastes and needs, and the Association has to evolve to meet these needs. While we are changing, our name also needed to reflect this change,” he said.
IANZ Vice-President Ram Lingam, who holds an MBA in marketing and branding, said that when an organisation expands and starts moving in a new direction, a new brand identity occupies primary importance.
“For instance, Telecom became ‘Spark’ and ‘Chorus’ with its respective activities grouped accordingly. The Hong Kong based Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation came to be known simply by its acronym ‘HSBC’ when it merged the British Bank of the Middle East into its organisational structure. In India, ‘Hindustan Machine Tools’ took to its acronym ‘HMT’ as the brand name when the company diversified into manufacture of watches, printing machines and bearings,” he said.
“Today, in an interconnect world, we should look at an expanding and inclusive identity,” he added.
From being just a cultural society, IANZ has metamorphosed into a socio-cultural entity, playing an influential and intercessory role in community affairs.
In the next few years, this role will only grow stronger.
Already IANZ, is building a new multi-story headquarters on it property located at 25 Tui Road. Work stated last month and the new building is expected to be ready by the end of the year.
The new Executive Committee elected at last week’s AGM includes many prominent citizens and some new faces.
The new team will continue the great work that has been done over the last 37 years.
Members of the new Executive Committee of Indian Association of New Zealand