The Waitakere Diwali Festival, celebrated at the Trusts Arena on October 18 was a great hit with about 15,000 people enjoying the day’s festivities.
There was a wide range of food and trade stalls for the cognisors. While children were kept occupied at amusements, teenagers and elders enjoyed the performances, with the day culminating in spectacular fireworks.
Indoor cricket, introduced to the event this year proved popular.
A ‘surprise visit’ by Lord Krishna lifted the spirits of the people as scores of them took pictures of their ‘favourite God.’
The formal inaugural ceremony had ‘double invocation,’ with a prayer by Hindu Priest Pundit Arya Ratna Shanti Singh and a Maori blessing by Kaumatua Fred Hollway.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown, WIA President Naveen Prakash and Radio Tarana Managing Director Robert Khan were among the speakers at the event, which was followed by classical and Bollywood dances.
Among those present were Members of Parliament Phil Twyford (Labour), Kanwal Singh Bakshi, Alfred Ngaro, Dr Parmjeet Parmar (National) and Mahesh Bindra (New Zealand First) and community leaders.
Mr Khan said, “It is unfortunate that the Auckland Council has cut its funding significantly to WIA, which has been organising the Festival with passion and purely on voluntary basis. Radio Tarana will continue to support the Association as a strong community partnership.”
Mr Brown said that he was not aware of the cut in funding.
“I will always support such community initiatives and will find out why funding has been cut to WIA Diwali,” he said.
The performers included WIA Hindi School students, Hare Krishna Group (Ram Leela) Indianz Azar Ali’s Group, ‘Touch of Bollywood’ and Naj Da Punjab Group.
In consonance with our ‘Diversity Theme,’ a Caribbean Steel band and a Fijian dance group also performed at the Festival.
WIA Diwali 2014 was organised by a Committee formed by members of the Indian community led by the Association.
WIA Executive Committee Member and Diwali Project Manager Anilesh Kumar attributed the success of the event to the resident communities, volunteers, sponsors, stallholders and others who extended their support.
Manoj Tahal is a former President of Waitakere Indian Association and now a member of its Executive Committee