Auckland honours Sikhs with a street name in Manukau

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(Photo Supplied)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, July 28, 2022

Former Member of Parliament and current Otara Papatoetoe Local Board Member Dr Ashraf Chaudhry is rejoicing with ethnic communities in general and the Sikh community in particular as a road has been named in honour of the Sikh Guru.

Called ‘Waheguru Lane,’ the passage is off Redoubt Road in Manukau City.

‘Wonderous Enlightener’

Waheguru is a revered expression of Sikhs meaning ‘Wonderous Enlightener.’

According to Dr Choudhary, ‘Waheguru Lane’ is the result of the initiative of Harry Singh, of Sunshine Homes, which developed 18 new houses in the area.

“I appreciate his efforts in getting the road named after the Sacred Guru of Sikhs,” he said.

Although he did not mention it, Dr Choudhary was instrumental in securing the name in honour of the Sikh community as he did with a few others during his tenure on the local board for the past six years. These are Diwan Lane, Shahkot Way and Deepak lane in the South Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe.

More than 20 years ago, during his nine-year tenure as a Member of Parliament on Labour List (2002 to 2011), he introduced ‘Diwali in Parliament’ and ‘Eid Al Fitr in Parliament.’

Dr Ashraf Chaudhary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing ethnic diversity

“Ethnic diversity is now a reality in New Zealand. Approximately 15% New Zealand population now express themselves as of non-European, non-Maori and non-pacific Island origin. A Majority of these ethnic communities are of East Asian or South Asian descent,” he said.

Dr Choudhary said that ethnic people are now being slowly recognised and celebrated at various decision-making levels. They are now represented in Parliament, local Councils and other important posts. Their culture and traditions are being celebrated and valued. Vaisakhi (Harvest Festival in North India ushering in the Spring) and Chinese New Year are now celebrated in Parliament and at City Council levels in major cities.

“Naming of roads and streets in new housing developments is a recent expression of celebration of diversity. Local Councils have the right to give names to new streets and roads being built. In Auckland, because of the size and Council structure, the right to name streets is given to the 21 Local Boards. In the Otara-Papatoetoe ward, the Board members, as the Governors of the area, approve the final names of new streets and roads,” he said.

Dr Choudhary, who has been a local board member of Otara-Papatoetoe has taken significant initiatives to celebrate New Zealand diversity.

“Nearly 50% of the population of Papatoetoe is now home to people of South Asian origin, where all major religions are also represented. Therefore, it is natural that these communities and their contribution are properly represented in new road and street names. These new streets and suburbs must reflect the aspirations of the wider demographics of our community. There are many upcoming developers and builders of Asian background now in the building industry. They should insist that new streets and suburbs be named to reflect and celebrate their heritage and contribution to New Zealand,” he said.

Dr Choudhary has advised all developers to contact their local boards for such recognition.

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