GOPIO Auckland Central intensifies interaction with the community

GOPIO Auckland Central Chapter President Shivani Arora with National MP Melissa Lee, Panmure-Otahuhu Candidate Navtej Randhawa, Kuldeep Arora and others at the Mata Jaagran organised by the Auckland Indian Retailers Association at Halwai in Papatoetoe, Auckland (Facebook Photo)

Venkat Raman
September 10, 2023

The newly elected team of office-bearers of the Auckland Central Chapter of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) has pledged to be more proactive and improve connectivity with the Indian community through projects and programmes.

Shivani Arora, who was elected in July to the post of President of the Chapter, is leading a team of enthusiastic men and women who share her commitment to improving the visibility of the organisation and promoting social cohesion and inclusion.

Meaningful Engagement

The team includes Rakesh Mehrotra (Vice-President), Sukerna Amirapu (Secretary) and Stutie (Junoo) Sharma (Joint Secretary).

Ms Arora said that GOPIO is keen to engage with the Indian Diaspora meaningfully and usefully.

National Party Leader Christopher Luxon with GOPIO Auckland Central Chapter President Shivani Arora and Jyoti Parashar at 76th India Independence Day held at Mahatma Gandhi Centre, Auckland on August 13, 2023 (Facebook Photo)

“GOPIO is an international organisation that has a good record for serving the members of the Indian community irrespective of their country of origin. There are about 230,000 people of Indian origin in New Zealand and the Auckland Central Chapter is keen to do its part to promote the welfare of this hard-working community,” she said.

Ms Arora said that as well as organising its own events to promote the spirit of unity and social inclusion, GOPIO Auckland Central Chapter is also keen to be part of events organised by others.

Community Events

Ms Arora recently sponsored ‘Mata Jaagran,’ a religious event to invoke the Blessings of Goddess Durga organised by the Auckland Indian Retailers Association at Halwai located in the South Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe. Among those who attended the event were National MP Melissa Lee and National Party’s candidate for Otahuhu-Panmure Navtej Randhawa.

She was also present at a dinner organised for Labour MP Michael Wood (Mt Roskill) at Shivani Restaurant located on Dominion Road, Mt Roskill.

Among the other recent events at which Ms Arora and others represented the Auckland Central Chapter were the Wahine Charitable Trust Iron Awareness Week Finale held at Sacred Heart College Auditorium on September 3, the Reception hosted by Indian High Commissioner Neeta Bhushan aboard INS Kolkata on September 2, the 76th Independence Day Celebrations hosted by the Indian High Commission at Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Mt Eden Terrace, Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the New Zealand Telugu Association held at the same venue on August 12 and the Business Voice Coffee Network Meeting organised by the Puketapapa Local Board on August 2, 2023.

India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Neeta Bhushan with GOPIO Auckland Central Chapter President Shivani Arora aboard INS Kolkata on August 19, 2023 (Facebook Photo)

About GOPIO

According to its website, the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin was established at the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin (PIO) held in New York (USA) in 1989.

The initial thrust of the Organisation was fighting human rights violations of people of Indian origin. Although this has been improved since then, human rights violations continue to be a major issue for PIOs living outside India.

GOPIO has now set its priorities in pooling its resources, both financial and professional, for the benefit of PIOs, the countries they come from and India. The Organisation welcomes people to join the Movement and foster this international effort.

GOPIO Auckland Central Chapter President Shivani Arora with Labour MP Michael Wood at a dinner hosted at Shivani Restaurant, Mt Roskill

“An unofficial estimate of the total number of people of Indian origin living outside India is about 22 million people. Whether they come from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Australia, the Caribbean or Europe, they are Indians in body and spirit. Almost all of them maintain their Indian cultural traditions and values. They seem to have meaningfully integrated with their countries without losing their ethnic identity. To have a better understanding of our communities in different parts of the world, it is essential to know and share the history of migration as well as their experiences in various countries,” the website says.

Pooling the Diaspora Strength

Recognising the achievements of PIO in business, politics and various professions, GOPIO believes that pooling professional expertise and financial resources will benefit people across the world.

“PIO can assume a new role in providing help in case of crisis to their communities everywhere. Indian associations worldwide have been doing a great job in providing community service and projecting a good image of India and the countries in which they live,” the website says.

 

During an interview with Indian Newslink at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in Chennai on January 8, 2009, the then Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh paid tributes to GOPIO International.

“This Organisation has proved its worth over the years and has been a great supporter of India’s policies and programmes,” he said and lauded GOPIO’s role in securing nuclear supplies to India in 2008 after lobbying with the then George W Bush Government.

The Overseas Citizenship of India scheme, which today allows millions of PIO to visit, reside and invest in India like its citizens, was a GOPIO initiative.

The United Nations recognised GOPIO as a Non-Governmental Organisation in 2001 and agreed to its participation in its world conference on racism.

GOPIO Auckland Central Chapter President Shivani Arora with members of GOPIO and others at the Iron Awareness Week organised by Wahine Charitable Trust at Sacred Heart College Auditorium on September 3, 2023 (Facebook Photo)

As we have reported earlier, there is no single organisation in this country, which provides a common platform for Indians from many parts of the world (especially India, Fiji, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, East Africa and Zimbabwe) to work together and share a common culture and heritage.

They belong to different organisations, although claiming “allegiance to their motherland and the land of their forefathers.”

GOPIO is a binding force and hence has the potential to grow in New Zealand.

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