One of the most important attributes of a community organisation is the way in which it connects with the people it aims to serve, listen to their concerns and address them jointly with the Government and other agencies.
On such a score, the New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) comes out as a credible body engaging seriously with the authorities on serious issues.
The 88-years-old organisation has gone through cycles of immense activity and inertia but has always had the benefit of the wisdom and experience of elders and community leaders. It is a matter of gratification that since the current team of office-bearers assumed office two years ago, NZICA entered yet another era of positive interaction, inspiring in the process, confidence in itself, in the community and the Government.
The well-knit team has been working behind the scenes assimilating the problems and challenges faced by the Indian community and taking them to ministers and Government officials, engaging with them in meaningful dialogues.
To be fair, even in the past, NZICA has had a number of capable men and women at its helm, each of them sporting leadership qualities in his or her own way. The institution came into being at a time when the Indian population was not only negligible but also marginalised under a system fraught by racism and discrimination.
It has remained a unified body representing the larger Indian community. Its past leaders deserve our salutations – especially those who functioned under difficult circumstances.
The fact that the Government, political parties and others today listen to the opinions channeled through NZICA demonstrates a number of factors, the most significant of which are (a) the increasing size of the population of Indians in New Zealand and (b) the realisation of the significant contributions made by the Indian community to the growth and progress of the economy, the society and the country. Added to this is the maturity and expertise of NZICA as a credible organisation to represent the interests of the community.
That the Association has become more active, accountable and transparent is reflected in the increasing number of reports carried by Indian Newslink over the past two years. These reports keep our readers informed of the steps being taken by NZICA to table issues of concern to the New Zealand Government and the Indian High Commission and promote the wellbeing of the community.
The series of four meetings that NZICA officials held in Wellington on May 21, 2014 (see Homelink) are indicative of the responsibilities that they take with seriousness as the umbrella organisation accounting for almost all segments of the community.
As the Indian community continues to grow, we will see Indians exercising greater influence in every sphere of activity – in business, politics, community work and more. As these engagements grow, the importance of NZICA will also grow.
With growth will come new challenges and problems.
Just how well the Association will cope with the existing and emerging challenges will depend on its ability to continuously seek orderliness in its affairs and remain relevant to the country and more importantly to the community.
NZICA has become a major player in the New Zealand society.
We will continue to support and report its activities to our readers.