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Kindness flows like the River

Do you need to contact someone in Auckland, Wellington or Hamilton but have nothing but a name? No worries, ask Ganges Singh.

Do you have an immigration problem unsolved for some time and do not want to spend any more money? No worries, call Ganges Singh.

Do you need help in organising a programme? No worries, ask Ganges Singh.

Sounds like rhetoric but residents of the Greater Auckland Region have come to believe that this senior citizen is better than most, who says what he does and does what he says. Community service has been his passion and over the years the number of beneficiaries has been growing.

He was perhaps the first and only dairy, fruit and vegetable shop owner in Albany (North Shore City) in 1962. About eight years later, he moved to Pukekohe to become a market gardener, a profession that he pursued for the next three decades.

Mr Singh has a series of firsts to his credit. He was the first Punjabi to be awarded a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM), the first Trade Union Leader representing the Indian community, the first person of Indian origin to be elected President of the Association of the Justices of Peace Inc and many others.

His list of accolades, citations and awards is also too long to be listed here. Suffice to say that he deserves more.

There is almost nothing that fits into a pattern with Mr Singh. Born at sea aboard ‘SS Ganges’ carrying his parents migrating from Punjab in India to Fiji, he needed special care as a baby who arrived a little too soon. His passion for hard work took his career through a variety of jobs beginning with the Public Works Department in Fiji. Migrating to New Zealand, he launched his working life in Pukekohe with the late Juwula Singh, who was to become his father-in-law a while later.

“There was demand for fruits and vegetables and hence I moved to Albany but returned to Pukekohe two years later (in 1964) and have been here since then. My 28 years of service at Alcan New Zealand Limited afforded me opportunities to be involved in a variety of activities. It was one of the most fascinating phases in my life,” he said.

Known for taking up causes on behalf of others, Mr Singh was a Member of the Trade Union Movement for 26 years, finding solutions for people’s problems. He was made a Life Member of the Northern Distribution Union, stated to be the first Indian to receive the honour.

No one would believe that the septuagenarian would mark his 75th Birthday on December 5.

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