Gul Zaman, our secular, humanist friend passes away

Funeral at 3.30 pm at Manukau Memorial Gardens, Puhinui Road at 3.30 pm

Gul Zaman: We have lost a great friend (INL File Photo)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, November 4, 2022

The world has lost another great soul, a true friend and a Samaritan.

Gul Zaman, who was a friend of hundreds of people across religious and other barriers, passed away this morning (Friday) in his East Auckland home. He was around 80 years of age and left behind his well-knit family of wife, children and grandchildren.

The Funeral Service will be held at the Manukau Memorial Gardens located at 361 Puhinui Road in Manukau at 3.30 pm today (Friday),

Gul, as we affectionately called him, was one of the real architects of the Multi-Ethnic Council in Auckland and held various positions. In addition, he was deeply involved in community welfare programmes and projects. He was a Justice of the Peace and a Marriage Celebrant.

A loss to humanity

Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand President Ibrar Sheikh paid rich tributes to Mr Zaman, saying that humanity has lost a great man in his passing.

“Brother  Gul Zaman was a very active member of the Muslim Community including the wider society in New Zealand. He served Fiji Muslim League before immigrating to New Zealand. He volunteered his time in many organisations, including FIANZ, the Council of Christians and Muslims, Multicultural New Zealand, Interfaith Groups, and the South Auckland Muslim Association (SAMA).

“His service to South Auckland Muslim Association was tremendous. As its President, he initiated the Mosque Building project and was the current Spokesperson of the Association. His contribution to Halal certification and interfaith engagements provides pathways to enhanced community engagements. He will be missed not only by his family but the community at large. May Allah grant him the best in the hereafter and grant his family patience,” he said.

Former FIANZ President and Government Relations Spokesperson Dr Anwar Ghani said that the death of Mr Zaman came as a shock.

“Some of us called on him for a cup of tea last week at his residence. He was as cheerful as he always was and little did we realise that the Almighty Allah was calling him. Gul was one of the greatest human beings to live in this world and his concern and services went beyond the Muslim community. We will always treasure his relationship,” he said.

Gul Zaman received an Award for his services to the Muslim community and Interfaith from National MP Judith Collins at the Fifth Annual Indian Newslink Sports, Community, Arts and Culture Awards held on September 15, 2018 (INL Photo)

Forthright and Honest

Ahemad Bhamji, a senior leader of the Muslim and business community, who has known Mr Zaman for the past almost 50 years, said that this is one of the saddest days in his life.

“Knowing him was a blessing. His knowledge, wisdom and concern for people of all religions were inspiring. I don’t think we could get another forthright and honest person like Gul. We will miss him forever,” he said.

Mr Bhamji said that he kept in contact with his people in Fiji, especially Tavua, in the Western Region, where he was born and raised.

The Indian Newslink Connection

Gul Zaman was one of the oldest friends of Indian Newslink and used to visit our office at least twice a week for a cup of tea and discuss with us community matters.

We supported him as he established the Auckland City Multiethnic Council and other associations with which he was involved.

He helped us produce the Girmit Special every year to commemorate the anniversary of the arrival of Indians to Fiji as indentured labourers. His maternal grandfather Alaf Khan was one of the workers who was taken to Fiji in 1904.

A former Quantity Surveyor and the Auckland Council and later at Hawkins Construction, Mr Zaman was a perfectionist and a humanist.

As a mark of our tribute and respect for his services to communities, he was presented with a Community Award for his services to the Muslim community and Interfaith at the Fifth Annual Indian Newslink Sports, Community, Arts and Culture Awards held on September 15, 2018.

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