Radio Tarana organised the Manukau Diwali on October 24, 2016 at Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City.
The day-long celebrations gave thousands of attendees a chance to enjoy a fun day out with friends and family and meet Bollywood star Emraan Hashmi.
Manukau Diwali, entry to which was free, started at midday with the formal inauguration held at 230 pm.
Auckland Mayor-Designate Phil Goff, Members of Parliament Dr Parmjeet Parmar (National) and Mahesh Bindra (New Zealand First) and Radio Tarana Managing Director Robert Khan and other guests were present on stage.
Before Emraan arrived on stage, the audience heard Dr Parmar singing and learnt that Mr Bindra is a good cook.
Emraan’s song and dance
Thirty-seven-year-old Emraan was on his first trip to Auckland.
He was an instant hit with the crowd.
Stylishly dressed with his trademark sunglasses, Emraan sang and danced with several members of the audience on stage.
He expressed his excitement and happiness at being in New Zealand and mentioned that he will be here again soon with his family for a holiday.
He also regaled the crowd by rendering famous dialogues from his films.
The star behind the success of ‘Raaz’ and ‘Murder’ franchises made another appearance in the evening where he posed for pictures with fans, and was at hand to witness the sparkling fireworks which brought the enjoyable event to a close.
Manukau Diwali is an occasion at which Indian culture is celebrated and entertaining acts presented on stage to keep the people engaged.
This year saw many song and dance routines from Hindi films performed.
What was refreshing to witness was the amalgamation of different eras of songs and music in the same acts.
It gave audiences of all ages something to connect with, and showcased the talent of the performers who easily juggled between different styles of music.
Children presented traditional dance forms like Gidda and Kathakali and received wide applause. These youngsters are a good example of modern Kiwi Indians- a blend of the best of Kiwi and Indian traditions.
This was the first outdoor event held by Radio Tarana at the newly refurbished Vodafone Events Centre. The venue now boasts of a much more spacious and user- friendly layout. This added to the occasion and convenience at Manukau Diwali.
The event also had many food stalls selling delicacies from across India.
These witnessed heavy footfalls throughout the day making Manukau Diwali a culinary delight.
Auckland Transport had for the first time a marquee at the event advertising its new transport schedule for South Auckland.
Mr Goff wants Auckland Council to have better favourability ratings with Aucklanders- this was a step in the right direction.
Manukau Diwali was a well organised, family friendly event.
It not only gave people of Indian origin a chance to celebrate Diwali, but also showcased Indian customs and culture to a wide segment of the Kiwi population.
It reinforced the strong connection that Indians have with the Hindi film industry and its stars.