Dharma Festival carves a new pathway to social cohesion in Aotearoa

Murali Krishna Magesan

Murali Krishna Magesan

Auckland, August 8, 2022

DharmaFest Organising Committee with Dharmic Representatives (Photo Supplied)

New Zealand’s first ever DharmaFest was attended by more than 1000 men, women and younger members of the society on Sunday, August 7, 2022, in Auckland.

The event, held under the theme, ‘Vibhinnatāyām Ekatvam’ (Unity in Diversity), began with the traditional welcoming of spiritual representatives from various Dharma groups followed by the lighting of the Lamp to mark the auspicious beginning of DharmaFest.

Mana Whenua of the region where DharmaFest was held, were acknowledged and with a Karakia. Swami Tadananda, the Head of Ramakrishna Mission New Zealand (representing the Hindu community) Rrahul Dosshi (the Jain community), Venerable Rewatha Thero (Buddhist) and Manjit Singh (Sikh) recited traditional prayers from their tradition and blessed the proceedings. It was a significant moment to witness such a gathering of leaders for the betterment of New Zealand society.

Dharmic cultures and traditions

Dharma-based traditions, cultures, knowledge systems and lifestyles have been welcomed throughout the world. Well-known examples include Yoga, meditation and mindfulness.

Likewise, Dharmic communities, be it spiritual, cultural, or service-oriented, have been doing tremendous work and giving back not only to ethnic communities but also to the wider New Zealand society. Dharmic communities have played a key role in promoting pluralism and respect for harmonious coexistence.

                         

                                  Murali Krishna Magesan, Swami Tadananda, Rrahul Dosshi, Venerable Rewatha Thero and Manjit Singh (Photo Supplied)
 

DharmaFest provided an opportunity for Dharmic communities to come together, engage with each other and showcase their unique contributions to Aotearoa New Zealand. With the attendance of several Dharma-based groups, temples and spiritual organisations, the youth team leading this event was grateful and humbled by the support from the community.

All participating organisations had an opportunity to showcase the beautiful dimensions of Dharmic culture and the contribution of this diverse community to New Zealand society.

Positive engagement

DharmaFest is a turning point for the future of many of our Dharmic communities. It paves a road for real positive engagement and opportunity to improve social cohesion within Aotearoa.

The community leaders blessed and congratulated the youth volunteers for turning this vision into a reality. They appreciated the youth-led DharmaFest initiative for making this a family-friendly event with a smoke-free, alcohol-free and meat-free environment.

The free event, which was open to the New Zealand public, gave everyone an opportunity to explore various stalls to learn about and experience some of the most ancient diverse cultures, Arts, Crafts, Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda.

During the event, many workshops and demonstrations focusing on Yoga, Ayurveda and Meditation were organised. Visitors experienced Yoga and Meditation, had mehndi decorations, purchased clothing and jewellery and created art. The amazing flavours at the numerous food stalls were popular.

Youth from participating organisations enjoyed their experience at DharmaFest and have expressed interest to be involved in helping create unique events like this in the future.

We will be reaching out to the interested organisations soon.

Venerable Rewatha Thero lighting the traditional lamp watched by others (Photo Supplied)

About Hindu Youth New Zealand

Hindu Youth New Zealand is a youth-led organisation that helps in developing young leaders in Aotearoa New Zealand. Through capability and capacity-building initiatives, such as national conferences, workshops, webinars, cultural events, and mentorship programmes, young people are supported to reach their potential and have an opportunity to contribute to the wider New Zealand society.

For more information, please email hinduyouth.newzealand@gmail.com
Facebook: Hindu Youth New Zealand. Instagram: @hinduyouthnz
Murali Krishna Magesan is President of Hindu Youth New Zealand and Coordinator of DharmaFest. He can be contacted on 021-08205130.

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