Communities get together to mark Diwali in Hamilton

Praneeta Mahajan

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, 7 November 2022

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate and Indian High Commissioner Neeta Bhushan at the Hamilton Diwali 2022 (Photo Supplied)

What makes us a community, is the coming together of people across cultures to share goals, ideas and values that define them and find common grounds to build a stronger foundation.

 

Such was the evening of 5 November 2022 when several ethnic organisations across Hamilton came together to celebrate a unified Diwali, supported by the High Commission of India and the Hamilton City Council.

The event sent a message of unity and inclusion.

 

The initiative saw the collaboration of several organisations, including the Indian Cultural Society (Waikato), Waikato Indian Association, Tamil Society Waikato, Waikato Senior Citizens Association, Waikato Multicultural Council, Hamilton Kerala Samajam with businesses to mark the Festival of f Lights.

 

Traditional performances at the event

Ms Bhushan & Ms Southgate address the audience

Social Cohesion and Inclusion

 

The initiative received applause from the Hamilton City Council. Mayor Paula Southgate, dressed in an ethnic Indian ensemble, said, “Diwali is a special time of the year, and after the Covid-induced break, it is great to be able to come together again and celebrate the festival. I have attended many Diwali festivities over the years and love the cultural richness and diversity.”

 

She said that Hamilton is home to 160 different ethnic groups, and this was a great opportunity to celebrate the city’s Indian communities coming together.

 

It was also the first official meeting for the newly appointed Indian High Commissioner Neeta Bhushan, the first woman to head India’s diplomatic mission in New Zealand.  

 

A career diplomat, she has served in Japan, Bangladesh, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. Her last overseas assignment was as Consul General of India in Chicago where she was in charge of ten United States.

 

“It is a matter of great pride and satisfaction to know that all the Indian Associations in Waikato have come together to celebrate this festival of lights, thus strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and fraternity. This is the real spirit of Diwali. To bring all communities together, celebrate together and share happiness,” Ms Bhushan said.

 

She acknowledged the welfare services provided by Waikato associations representing Indian and Kiwi communities and their efforts to promote and preserve Indian cultural values.

 

Bhangra performance at Hamilton Diwali (Photo Supplied)

An evening of celebration

As for the event, it saw some authentic Indian performances, from different parts of the country performed by artists of all age groups. With food and sweets of India, some authentic tea flavours being served and everyone dressed for the festivities, it was a celebration that had it all.

 

Srinivasan Jaganathan, President of Tamil Society Waikato said, “We look forward to collaborating with other organisations to promote cultural harmony and add more colours to the vibrant multicultural community in Hamilton. On this occasion, let the light and peace upon the whole of New Zealand and let the people prosper.” He quoted from the Tamil Sangam literature, which is more than 2000 years old to say, “Every city is ours; everyone is our kith and kin.”

 

Ravinder Powar, President of Waikato Multicultural Society said, “This unified event aligns with the message of Diwali, bringing the inner joy of peace, kindness, universal compassion and the awareness of oneness.

 

Mr Powar has been a Hamilton resident for more than 50 years and is one of the community’s most active members.

 

 

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink Reporter based in Hamilton.

 

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