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Festival of Lights arrives early in South Auckland

Although the actual ‘Diwali Day’ according to the Hindu calendar is on Sunday, November 3, a number of organisations have planned their festivities earlier, the first of which will be held this weekend.

Manukau Indian Association (MIA) is leading the Festival of Lights this year with its celebrations scheduled to be held on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the Vodafone Events Centre (formerly Telstra Clear Pacific Events Centre) located at 770 Great South Road in Manukau City.

MIA President Manish Tanna said that the event, scheduled to be held from 2 pm to 1130 pm will combine Navaratri and Diwali and that the earlier date was chosen so as not to clash with other events being held in the City.

“The festivities will begin with a multicultural dance competition for schools, the first of its kind to be held as a part of Manuaku Diwali. It is unique since participants can choose any culture (Indian or Non-Indian) and vie for three prizes of $300 each for top three performers,” he said.

Mr Tanna said that the formal ceremony, commencing at 5 pm, will have a number of leaders in attendance, including Auckland Mayor Len Brown, Members of Parliament, Councillors, business and community leaders.

“Fireworks, commencing at 830 pm will be among the highlights of the programme, followed by Garba, dances commemorating Navaratri. As well as the traditional Dandia, the dances will comprise modern fusion, with a professional DJ. The event is free for all, with free car parking. Arrangements are being made for food stalls to sell a variety of Indian cuisine and for children to amuse themselves,” Mr Tanna said.

Contact: Manish Tanna (09) 6266969 Mobile: 021-822772

Email: president@manukauindians.org.nz; website: www.manukauindians.org.nz

Massey University

Students, teachers and staff of Massey University in Albany will mark Diwali with a cultural programme on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.

Albany Campus Registrar Andrea Davies said that traditional values and the spirit of Festival of Lights will come alive at the first Diwali treat being organised by Massey.

“We love the opportunity to welcome the community to our Campus and celebrate special events like Diwali. This is a wonderful excuse,” she said.

Ms Davies said that Auckland has become a diverse city and hence such festivals afford a chance for people to sample aspects of different cultures that have become an integral part of New Zealand.

Librarian Tom Vadrevu, a Member of the Organising Committee said that various faculties and departments are involved in the ‘Diwali Project.’

“We have students from more than 100 countries, and student associations have been invited to set up food stalls and stage performances, depicting the unique cultures they represent,” he said.

The programme will be held from 11 am to 3 pm at ‘Student Central.’

Waitakere Indian Association

Excitement and expectation are already in the air in West Auckland as the Waitakere Indian Association announced that it would conduct its Diwali Festival on Saturday, October 12, 2013.

Arguably the largest event of its type held at the Trusts Stadium in Henderson, the day-long Festival is expected to attract about 30,000 people from various parts of Auckland and beyond.

Association Secretary Lata Kumar, Event Director Roneel Singh and Past Presidents Manoj Tahal and Sunil Chandra, who are among the chief organisers of ‘Waitakere Diwali,’ said that the event, scheduled to begin at 11 am, will be a day full of vibrant performances, exotic food, craft stalls and spectacular fireworks display.

“This auspicious Festival in the Hindu calendar heralds a time for physical and spiritual cleansing.’ Waitakere Diwali’ will begin with the traditional Hindu ceremony, followed by contemporary Bollywood and traditional music and dance and school dance competition,” they said.

Ms Kumar said that the formal ceremony will be held at 545 pm in the presence of a number of leaders, leading to an English drama staged by the Hare Krishna Temple.

“A series of cultural, Bollywood and Bhangra items leading to the live DJ mix by Gabbroo will commence at dusk. The programme will culminate in a spectacular display of fireworks,” she said.

WIA General Body recently elected Naveen Prakash to the post of President at their Annual General Meeting held recently. Among the others elected to various posts at the Meeting were Roneel Singh (Vice-President), Lata Kumar (Secretary), Preeya Prakash (Assistant Secretary), Sanjay Kumar (Treasurer), Shalveen Ballu/Sonal Sharma (Assistant Treasurer).

Among the members of the Executive Committee are Sonar Chand Singh Ngangom, Hardeep Singh, Praveen Chandra, Manoj Tahal and Sunil Chandra (Immediate Past President)

Gyanend Datt, Mahendra Sharma, Sunil Sharma, Sonal Sharma (since appointed Assistant Treasurer) and Anilesh Kumar were co-opted into the Committee.

Email secretary.at.wia@gmail.com; Website: www.wia.net.nz;

Rotorua

The Rotorua Convention Centre will be a beehive of activity on Saturday, October 12, 2013, as the ‘Rotorua Deepawali Festival 2013’ is held to captivate a cross-section of people living in the region.

Organised by the Rotorua Deepawali Festival Committee and Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ), the annual event is known as smoke-free, alcohol-free and meat-free Festival.

Organiser Dr Guna Magesan said that Rotorua Deepawali is held under different themes each year.

“These include ‘Hindu Maori whakawhanangatanga,’ ‘Youth Development’ ‘Women Empowerment,’ and ‘Unity in Diversity.’ HCNZ has been given a Special Consultative Status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in recognition of its constructive community work,” he said.

The theme for the forthcoming event is ‘Maori Indian Deepawali’ with emphasis on Community Health.

For further details, email: rotorua.deepawali@gmail.com

Waikato Events

Residents of Waikato would have a unique opportunity of experiencing 16 days of celebrations centred on the theme of Festival of Lights. The series will commence on October 13, with a Cultural Dance show at 5 pm at Gallaghar Hall of Performing Arts, Waikato University.

Organiser Pradeep Kapoor said that a series of workshops will be held under various themes at Creative Waikato (131 Alexandra Street, Hamilton) from October 14 to 19.

Following is the programme to be held daily from 12 pm to 2 pm.

October 14: Rangoli; October 15: Bollywood Dance; October 16: Garba Dance; October 17: Henna; October 18: Dandia Dance; October 19: Musical Instruments (Drums) and Chanting; October 21: Bindi and Face Paint; October 22: Kuchipudi Dance

“Entry to all the above events is free but we would be grateful for donations. Participants should deposit their arts and craft work exhibits on October 11 between 10 am and 4 pm,” Mr Kapoor said.

Devotional songs and instrumental music will be a part of the programme organised by the Interfaith Council on Sunday, October 20 at Chartwell Room, Hamilton Garden.

Agenda in libraries

A number of activities will be held on October 23 at 1030 am at Chartwell Library, Dinsdale Library, Hillcrest Library and Garden Place Library, while similar activities will be held on the following day at 10 am at St Andrews Library and at 1030 am at Glenview Library.

Kathak and Bharata Natyam dances will be held from 12 pm to 2 pm on October 25 and 26 from 12 pm to 2 pm.

The Garden Place will come alive with Diwali stalls and practicing groups on October 27 from 12 pm to 2 pm, while an Indian Dance Group and Fashion Show will be featured at the event on October 28.

Further details can be obtained from Pradeep Kapoor. Email: kapoorinnz@yahoo.com

Photo :

1. Manish Tanna

2. Revellers at Manukau Diwali 2012

3. Performers at Waitakere Diwali 2012

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