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Colourful Festival attracts New Zealanders

Such is the importance, energy and excitement about Diwali that celebrations are started this year in New Zealand a full month before the actual day.

This is also a reflection of the fact that the large number of organised events cannot be held at the same time.

Consequently, most Saturdays and Sundays from late September to late October will see Diwali celebrated in very large gatherings around Auckland and Wellington.

Diwali falls during a very spiritual time for a number of religions including Hinduism. The Christmas period follows shortly after Diwali and sometimes it occurs shortly before or after Eid Al Fitr (end of the Holy Month of Ramadan).

Asia New Zealand Foundation has taken Diwali to new heights in Auckland and Wellington enabling hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders to celebrate this colourful event.

In Auckland, Diwali has become a major event with the Waitakere Indian Association, the Manukau Indian Association and others marking the festival with thousands of people in attendance.

For me, Diwali is a time for new beginnings when we celebrate the year that has past and look forward to the one that is beginning.

It is a time to get together with families and loved ones. It is a time to be thankful for all that we have and it is time for new resolutions.

As Indian Newslink readers prepare for Diwali festivities, I wish them Happy Diwali. There will be plenty to enjoy and celebrate during this festive season.

While you do that, I hope you will give some thought to those who have lost loved ones and those who are not as fortunate as we are.

We are very lucky to be living in New Zealand with the opportunity to grow our families and businesses in a modern, secure and beautiful environment.

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to represent your interests in Parliament and to be part of a group that values equity, enterprise, fairness and diversity. It is my very pleasant honour to promote an environment in which ethnic communities contribute fully to the success of 21st century New Zealand and where New Zealand positively influences our ethnic communities to be Great New Zealanders.

Dr Rajen Prasad is Member of Parliament on Labour List and the Party’s Ethnic Affairs Spokesman.

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