Sometime this week, every registered voter in Auckland will receive ballot papers to enable them to choose the Mayor, Councillors and Members to Local Boards, Licensing Trusts and District Health Boards.
The Indian Community can be proud of the role it is playing in the local body elections. There are 32 candidates of Indian origin standing for Council, Local Boards, Area Health Boards and Licensing Trusts.
Well qualified in their field of specialisation, they belong to different age groups and beliefs. Regardless of how many are elected, these future leaders must spread the message of Unity.
They must understand that that they do not represent just the local Indian Community, but the entire society in their local boards.
We as a community have a lot to offer in terms of our culture, family values, importance of educating and guiding children, respect for the elders and authority, and maintaining cultural traditions.
However, it is time for us to open the doors to the other Kiwis too.
Let us start inviting people of other cultures and ethnicities to participate in the events that we organise and celebrate on regular basis. This can begin on a limited scale and I have no doubt that there will be a natural growth. Unless we embrace the other cultures and get them involved, our children and grandchildren will grow up in a divided society where no one will feel welcome.
There are hard working volunteers within the Indian community organisations serving the people by teaching dance, music and other forms of Indian Fine Arts.
Let us talk to non-Indian groups and offer them these services.
For instance, young Kiwis would love to learn Bollywood dances, music, yoga, the art of applying Henna and cuisine. On another level, they would also absorb the importance of parental involvement in the lives of our children; that would sow the seeds for harmony within families.
This proud nation can only grow from strength to strength if we all of us get together as one people. We will succeed in cutting down crime.
We will also integrate as New Zealanders, which is vital for the future of the ensuing generations. We will succeed in imparting all that is good within us, and learn what is good within other cultures.
The greater City of Auckland can serve as a beacon to the rest of the nation.
Do vote in the ensuing local body election and have your voice heard.
Ram Rai is a Citizen’s & Ratepayers candidate for Puketapapa (Mt Roskill) Local Board in the forthcoming Auckland Council Elections. Phone: 021-655922 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org