There is unheard of variety, colour and aesthetic values in South India.
We have never seen such a spectacle of dances anytime before in New Zealand.
This is a true show of unity, goodwill and enjoyment.
Those were some of the comments made by a Minister, Eleven MPs, a Mayor and 600 others at the First Annual Indian Newslink Festivals of South India held on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at Sacred Heart College Auditorium.
Series of Firsts
There were a series of first to this event.
It was the first time that five States (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka) got together to present their culture, costumes and cuisine.
It was the first time that five Associations (New Zealand Telugu Association, Telangana Association of New Zealand, Muthtamil Sangam, Auckland Malayali Samajam and New Zealand Kannada Koota) got together to present a programme.
It was the first time that food from five separate States were prepared at one venue by one family of chefs and offered to guests.
It was the first time that volunteers, ushers and other from five States worked in such areas as entertainment, stage management, and various other associated tasks.
And it was the first time that Indian Newslink organised such an event at this venue.
Self-acclamation and wild claims are not a part of our culture. We are a group of simple people who do our best for our communities.
Multiplicity of Languages, Customs
Ethnic Communities Minister said that while she has witnessed many programmes organised by the five different organisations, she was awed by the ‘extensive diversity of cultures of the five States of South India.
“I am overwhelmed by the energy and talent displayed by performers from various regions. What you have achieved today is a new bond of unity of cultures and food and I am keen to learn about you and your people,” she said, speaking at the event.
Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges, who recently returned from an official visit to India with his fellow National MPs Gerry Brownlee and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, said that he was astounded by the ‘very different, vibrant lifestyle in the world’s largest democracy.’
Getting close to South India
“I have not been to any States of South India, and after witnessing tonight’s performance, I am determined to visit all the places about which I have heard tonight. I am determined to get closer to India to do business and to interact with people,” he said.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said that Auckland continued to grow in population with increasing number of people of varied ethnicities.
“We encourage you to bring you culture, language and food and we will continue to celebrate various festivals and observances,” he said.
In her Opening Address, Labour MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan highlighted various performing arts of South India and said that the event presented an excellent opportunity to witness some of them.
National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, in his ‘Reflections and Gratitude,’ spoke about his own family connections in South India (notably Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and Bengaluru in Karnataka) and said that he had always enjoyed the company and hospitality of the people of this region.
“I will be happy to see the Festivals of South India to grow,” he said.
Labour MP and Chief Government Whip Michael Wood, dressed in a Tamils-style Dhoti and open shirt, spoke of his affinity toward the people of South India,
Among the other Members of Parliament present at the event were Simon O’Connor, Agnes Loheni, Deborah Russell, Chris Penk, Simeon Brown, Melissa Lee, Dr Parmjeet Parmar and former MP Dr Rajendra Prasad.