Senior Gujaratis recall their ancestry

It was an evening of emotion, joy and remembrance as the members of the ‘New Zealand Machhadgam Society’ gathered at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Eden Terrace recently to foster fellowship and understanding.

Society Secretary Arvind Dullabh said Macchadgam is a village located in Navsari on the banks of the Purna River.

“The village today has no more than 1600 people, but New Zealand accounts for about 200 families from Machhadgam. Like many other Indian settlers, our elders came to New Zealand during the early 1900s. Most of the men arrived as teenagers followed by their families some years later. A majority of them wanted to stay in close vicinity to each other and hence settled mostly in Otahuhu, which came to be known as ‘The Machhadgam of New Zealand.’ Today, we remember and honour them for their fortitude and hard work,” he said.

The annual get-together this year acquired added value with the release of ‘Machhad to New Zealand,’ a book that traced the roots of the community to their native land and their efforts to make a living in this country.

Mr Dullabh said it was important to make the younger members of the community, especially those born and raised in New Zealand to be aware of their ancestry.

“The 3D photo of Machhadgam from ‘Google Earth’ provided images of their forefathers’ houses with detailed locations.

“We honour our pioneers and elders for their sacrifices in overcoming destitution to create a blooming future for their loved ones,” he said.

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