Royal visitor extols Indian community

The Indian community in New Zealand has set high standards of morals, performance and unity, becoming effective partners in the country’s progress, a visitor from a Royal Muslim family from India has said.

“Indians make us proud. We belong to a community of peace lovers and we are passionate about the progress of every society in which we live. New Zealand is an excellent example of a thriving Indian community, contributing positively to the country’s prosperity,” Nawab Mohammed Abdulla Ali, Prince of Arcot said, speaking at the fifth anniversary dinner of the New Zealand Branch of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) at Alexandra Park on Sunday, November 17, 2013.

He was in New Zealand with his wife Sayeeda Begum, courtesy of BNZ and Indian Newslink as Guests of Honour at the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2013 (see separate stories in our Awards Special).

Rising Indians

“I understand that the first Indian settlers arrived in New Zealand more than 125 years ago and that they strived hard to make an honest living. I am pleased to learn that their successive generations have done well and that many of them today are well-known businesspersons, involved in almost all sectors of the economy as manufacturers, importers, exporters, professionals, consultants, teachers, doctors and lawyers. I am heartened by the warmth and respect with which they are treated by all New Zealanders,” he said.

Social harmony

Speaking about Islam, the Prince said that the religion stood for peace, harmony, equality and ‘all good things in life.’ Some people have tainted its image by acts of terrorism and terrorist attacks but most Muslims believe in brotherhood of mankind, living and working together with people of other faiths, he said.

“There is only one God, whether He is called Allah, Eshwar or Jesus. Our life in this world is transitory and hence we must make it happy and harmonious. There is no point in attacking each other in the name of religion or for other reasons. All human beings must be treated with equal respect,” he said.

GOPIO progress

The Prince said that he was happy to note the progress of GOPIO since its establishment in New Zealand five years ago. This is a worldwide body that caters to the interests of more than 25 million people of Indian Origin resident in more than 20 countries across the Continents, he said.

More than 150 people including Auckland District Court Judge Dr Ajit Swaran Singh, Indian Deputy High Commissioner Sanjay Verma, Members of Parliament Dr Rajen Prasad, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Melissa Lee, Presidents and members of various chapters of GOPIO and other invited guests attended the anniversary celebrations.

GOPIO New Zealand

Earlier, welcoming the gathering GOPIO New Zealand President Alkesh Sharma said that the organisation accounted for ten chapters located throughout New Zealand.

“We have about 180 members in various chapters. We welcome formation of new Chapters. We also welcome members of the Indian community to join us and strengthen our hands. GOPIO is for all Indians irrespective of their country of origin. We wish to undertake more community and social projects to contribute meaningfully to the betterment of all communities in New Zealand,” he said.

Mr Sharma was grateful to Bank of Baroda (New Zealand) Limited and 2dregrees Mobile Limited for sponsoring the anniversary celebrations.

Among the highlights of the event was a power-point presentation on GOPIO and its projects by GOPIO Wellington President Dr Pushpa Wood.

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