Importance of promoting language as cultural identity stressed

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National Federation of Tamils holds Retreat in Wellington

Venkat Raman
Auckland, August 2, 2021

The importance of promoting language as a cultural and regional identity and the need to encourage the younger generation to understand linguistic values were emphasised at a unique event held in Wellington yesterday (August 1, 2021).

Organised by the newly formed Aotearoa New Zealand Federation of Tamil Sangam (ANTS) Inc, the one-day Retreat, held at Brentwood Hotel in Kilbirnie event was attended by Indian High Commissioner Muktesh Pardeshi, Wellington Mayor Andy Foster, Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon, Labour List MP Ibrahim Omer, Ethnic Communities Ministry Regional Manager Kudakwashe Tuwe, Multicultural New Zealand President Pancha Narayanan and New Zealand Police National Partnerships Manager Ethnic Superintendent Rakesh Naidoo and others.

The Retreat was attended by a majority of the Founding Members of ANTS, Presidents and Secretaries of member organisations and others. The event included the launch of the new Sangam’s website (

Loyalty and link to motherland

Mr Pardeshi urged the members of the Indian community to remain loyal to their country of adoption while retaining their roots with their motherland.

“There is a need to preserve our identity of birth along with our cultural and traditional values. Love of language accords us our unique identity and we should cherish it with pride. Although I am an officer of the Indian Foreign Service, a national entity serving my country in various parts of the world, I am proud to be called a son of the State of Bihar,” he said.

Mr Foster said that apart from being the capital of the country, Wellington is a diverse city and the home for national and international organisations.

Presidents honoured at the Retreat: Raphael Roy (Tauranga Tamil Association), Srinivasan Jaganath (Tamil Society Waikato), Vai Ravindran (Auckland Tamil Association), Raveen Annamalai (Wellington Muthtamil Sangam), Sivanathan (Blenheim Tamil Association) and Rajesh Katare (Dunedin Tamil Society)


Mr Foon asked the members of the Tamil community to recognise and respect the Treaty of Waitangi and strengthen the bond with the Maori.

“The Maori were the first occupants of Aotearoa and hence their inherent rights. We should respect their traditions and values,” he said.

Mr Omer spoke of the achievements of his Labour government, which he said, included the recently launched Ministry for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities.

Mr Tuwe said that the Ministry is working hard to ensure inclusion in all its activities.

Mr Narayanan spoke about Tamil and its richness. He later conducted a Leadership Programme designed by Multicultural New Zealand.

India’s High Commissioner Muktesh Pardeshi with dignitaries and Retreat participants


AGM and New Committee

On Friday, the first Annual General Meeting of ANTS elected the following members to the Executive Committee who in turn elected people to various roles.

They are Raveen Annamalai from Wellington Muthtamil Sangam (President), Vai Ravindran from Auckland Tamil Association, (Vice-President), Rajesh Katare from Dunedin Tamil Society (Secretary), Srinivas Jaganath from Tamil Society Waikato (Treasurer), Velmurugan from Auckland Tamil Association, Vijaykumar from Canterbury Indian Tamil Association and Dhamotharan from Wellington Muthtamil Sangam (Committee Members).

New Committee at ANTS: Vice-President Vai Ravindran (left) and President Ravin Annamalai (Third from left) with other members of the Executive Committee elected on July 31, 2021 in Wellington

Pictures by Eva Kaprinay

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