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Let us go beyond Cricket and Language

Congratulations to Indian Newslink on its Eleventh Anniversary.

This Newspaper was launched about two weeks before I became Prime Minister of New Zealand in 1999.

Over the next nine years, I came to know the paper and those who produced it very well, especially its tireless editor Venkat Raman and his staff.

Indian Newslink has done a tremendous job, assembling news relevant to New Zealand’s Indian communities. It has got out and reported on community events large and small. It is a rare event where Venkat is not found with his note pad and pen– and a camera too!

It is no easy task keeping up with the news of what is happening in the Kiwi Indian communities. As the numbers of Kiwi Indians have grown fast through migration over the past 20 years, community events have proliferated too, with so many different regional, language, faith, and cultural groups forming and taking pride in putting their uniqueness on display.

Then there are the events, which bring everyone together like Diwali – indeed, I have just received a Diwali invitation for a New York event, reminding me of the many invitations for Diwali, which came my way as Prime Minister.

I have so many happy memories of being welcomed to rich and colourful events showcasing India’s visual and performing arts – and of seeing these gatherings reported by Indian Newslink.

Exchange visits

Over the years, I spoke at many events for the communities – not least at India’s Independence Day celebrations. I often made the point that New Zealand was a little late to catch up with India’s development transformation. I made it my business to go to India as Prime Minister, and on average one of our ministers went every year.

I have no doubt that that frequency will have to increase as India’s economy and our overall relationship with India become more and more important to New Zealand.

We simply have to go beyond the old dated relationship where we had little more to talk about than cricket (important as that may be!) and the fact that we could talk about it in a common language.

Indian Newslink has been a great promoter of a modern relationship between New Zealand and India, including through growing trade and investment links.

And let us not forget the role New Zealand plays for Bollywood – well over 100 of its movies have been filmed in New Zealand.

The next step will be to persuade the directors and producers to do more of the post- production work here in our state of the art facilities.

Growing Publication

I know that Indian Newslink will continue to cover all the events and issues I have covered here and I sincerely hope that that will be for a very long time!

Once again, congratulations to Venkat and his team on the outstanding job they have done in Indian Newslink over the past 11 years.

Helen Clark was the Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008. She became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2009, based in New York City, US. She is seen in the picture here with her husband Peter Davis, (Now) Opposition Leader Phil Goff (right), former Auckland City Mayor Dick Hubbard (far left) and Mary Goff (seated foreground) during her visit to Indian Newslink offices to launch Electionlink on June 16, 2007.

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