Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi
Indians started to migrate to New Zealand from 1880.
From being land tillers who turned infertile and barren lands of Waikato and King Country to fertile Kiwifruit, Passionfruit and dairy farms to being of the ethnic group whose language Hindi is now the fourth most spoken in the country, Kiwi Indians have come a long way.
According to Statistics New Zealand, currently there are more than 155,178 people in New Zealand who belong to the Indian ethnic group.
As the Kiwi Indian community continues to contribute positively in our adopted land. the areas in which we contribute also grow.
New Zealanders on their part have welcomed us with open arms.
Singapore has Little India, England has Curry Mile, and my electorate Manukau East has Papatoetoe.
Papatoetoe, with its Indian clothing stores and food outlets, is New Zealand’s Little India.
Further research by Statistic New Zealand tells me that more than 68% of the Indian population lives in the Auckland region, and a majority of those, 14.5%, live in my electorate of Manukau East.
Papatoetoe provides an experienced network of people, while the infrastructure and the environment ensure the creation of a comparatively easier development period for businesses.
Also a strong ethnic community means a large client base is available to target goods and services more inclined to be provided by these businesses.
Communication is the base for any successful business and South Auckland has the largest concentration of people who speak a similar mother tongue.
Therefore, Papatoetoe is well set up and now the local population is taking it a step further and making it more of a tourist hub for people.
Hunters Corner accounts for 60 retail outlets of which about 40 have some form of Indian flavour. This has created a homely environment for people living in this area.
New initiatives such as printed roller doors outside shops with colourful images of camels, peacocks, and the Taj Mahal on them provide a good cultural feel for Papatoetoe.
I can write with pride that many schools in Papatoetoe are home to award-winning teachers and students.
Businesses thrive in areas where they see growth. Business owners and entrepreneurs invest in areas with good infrastructure.
Future growth of Indian communities in Auckland will be dependent on educational and medical facilities provided in an area.
Papatoetoe continues to grow and provide more opportunities for trade and commerce along with facilities for families to grow.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi has been a Member of Parliament on National List since November 2008. He is currently his Party’s Spokesperson for Internal Affairs and Associate Spokesperson for Justice, and Member of the Administration Select Committee.
New businesses blossom at Hunters Corner in Papatoetoe