Hamilton, November 8, 2023
Diwali celebrations are the biggest celebration for the Indian Diaspora around the world and Indians in New Zealand are known for their exuberance and celebrations around this time of the year.
Hamilton has, for many years, participated in Diwali celebrations that take place in the city, and it is a refreshing sight to see people from all cultural and ethnic groups celebrate the event with vigour.
One such grand celebration is the ‘Waikato Diwali Mela’ which will be a spectacle for the entire city, planned on Saturday, November 11, 2023, from 4 pm onwards at the Innes Common, Hamilton Lake.
Waikato Diwali Mela
The event is a highlight on the ethnic celebration calendar, with a unique concept every year. This year, the event will see a number of stalls and food trucks by the iconic Hamilton Lake Domain, where families can come for a picnic-style evening out and watch the sunset over the lake while enjoying some cultural performances, delicacies from different parts of India and the world, and let the children have some fun playtime.
The highlight of the event would be the fireworks display, which would be the first-of-its-kind celebration and a reminder of the quintessential element of Diwali celebrations for many families.
Jujhar (Jay) Singh Randhawa, Vice President of the Indian Cultural Society (Waikato) Incorporated spoke to Indian Newslink and said, “The aim with all our events is to enhance community interaction. This year’s event is a bigger project as compared to the previous years, both in terms of budget and effect. We planned the event outdoors and made sure that it was family friendly and fun, instead of making it a formal affair.”
“Another attraction for our young visitors will be New Zealand Police, NZ Fire Department as well as St John’s Ambulance to be present to interact with the visitors.”
The event is being supported by Hamilton City Council, the High Commission of India, Hamilton Kerala Samajam, Waikato Indian Association Multi-Cultural Waikato and several individual volunteers, supporters and sponsors.
Entry to the event is free and open to all and the organisers shared a message for the community at large stating, “Everyone is cordially invited to join in the celebrations, let the children have fun outdoors, enjoy the summer evening by the lake and make the event a success with your presence. We hope to bring together a great evening of fun, food, laughter and some wonderful memories for everyone who attends.”
About the organisers
Diwali in New Zealand started when New Zealand Sikh Temple was built in 1977 Country Section New Zealand Indian Association Waikato Indian Association with New Zealand Sikh Society celebrate at the temple. After several years, they celebrated together with other community groups from Punjab, Gujrat, Sri Lanka, Fiji, and Kerala, forming the new Diwali committee and celebrating Diwali festivals in 1990 at Founders Theatre, Hamilton. Later the name of the committee was changed to Indian Cultural Society Waikato Inc.
The society aims to foster the advancement of Indian tradition, language and literature and also to promote and develop multiculturalism philosophy influencing activities and structures within New Zealand’s society.
Mr Randhawa highlighted, “Our effort is always to bring people together and welcome all the families and individuals that have chosen to call Hamilton their home. It is this sense of belonging to the city that makes every community event relevant and provides a sense of belonging to the cultural weave of this vibrant and diverse country while staying connected to one’s roots and traditions.”
Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.