‘Fiji Diwali Night 2018’ brings together people
Venkat Raman, Auckland, November 4, 2018
Standing (from left) Charles Pandey, Chandar Sen, Harish Lodhia, Peter Rudd, Daren Kamali, Ajit Swaran Singh, Albert Ngaro, Zarak Khan, Filimone Waqabaca, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Dr Rajen Prasad
It was another positive chapter in the long and eventful history of people-to-people relations a more than 100 people gathered at the Hauraki Room of the Grand Mercure Hotel in Auckland City on Friday, November 2, 2018 to mark the Festival of Lights.
Guests of Honour
New Zealand’s Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni, her Partner Daren Kamali, Fiji’s Wellington-based High Commissioner to New Zealand Filimone Waqabaca, Fiji’s Sydney-based Consul General and Trade Commissioner (Australia & New Zealand) Zarak Khan, National Party MPs Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Alfred Ngaro, Honorary Consul of Fiji in Auckland Harish Lodhia and Radio Tarana Managing Director & Chief Executive Robert Khan were among the Guests of Honour at the event.
Hosted by the Sydney-based Diplomatic and Trade Mission, ‘Fiji Diwali Night 2018,’ was organised by Indian Newslink and Radio Tarana .
More than 100 persons representing the Fijian, Indian, Maori and European communities attended the first-ever event of its type hosted by the Fijian government in New Zealand.
Closer ties and cooperation
Sepuloni, Pandey, Ajit Singh
Ms Sepuloni spoke about the existing and emerging opportunities for improving relations between New Zealand and Fiji at all levels.
“Our government is working hard to ensure that we realise the potential to grow those relations further and establish even stronger relations. Diwali is all about sharing and caring and I look forward to many more such events that bring our people together,” she said.
Jyoti Lodhia, Rajnish Sen, Kamil Lakshman
Mr Waqabaca said that Fiji continues to progress as a favoured destination for New Zealanders for business and leisure.
Rudd, Waqabaca, Stuart Rhodes, Sen
Hub of the Pacific
Stating that Fiji is the ‘Hub of the Pacific,’ Mr Khan said that Fiji is more important to New Zealand than ever before.
Prakash, Rakesh, Dinesh Pandey, Deven Sharma
“Earning its place on New Zealand’s Top 20 trading partners worldwide, Fiji has had consistent economic growth for the past nine years across all sectors such as Manufacturing, Agriculture and Tourism. There are also attractive investment incentives, such as tax free regions and low corporate taxes and world-class infrastructure to assist in encouraging new investors from overseas. The ICT sector in particular has had tremendous success in Fiji,” he said.
Khan, Prem and Dr Rajen Prasad
Youth and Literacy
“The Fijian population is young and educated with a literacy rate of about 96%. Companies have begun to realise that Fiji can offer much more than simply answering a phone call, but carry out complex tasks in specialised areas such as Finance, Insurance, IT, and Marketing. Our products such as ‘Fiji Water,’ ‘Pure Fiji’ and many others exported to many parts of the world. The trade potential is growing,” Mr Khan said.
The evening’s entertainment comprised performances by the Indiance Dance Group, Kartika Singh and a Sitar and Tabla recital by Basant Madhur and his students of the Sargam School of Indian Music.
(Pictures by Narendra Bedekar)