Maharashtra Day celebrated with fervour


Maharashtra Day was celebrated by members of the community in Auckland yesterday, 30 April 2023 (Photo Supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, May 1, 2023

Maharashtra Day event, “Maharashtra Din- Garja Maharashtra Mazha” was organised on 30 April by the Auckland Marathi Association Inc.(AMAI) at Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre. The event started at 4 pm till 8 pm. The Kiwi Indian community at large aim of the event to present our Maharashtrian culture and cuisine to the wider community.

With several food stalls and crafts being presented for visitors, it was a treat for the eyes and a feast for the tastebuds. Each and every stall had something unique to sell from Modak, Puranpuli to Malvi Prawns, Kolhapuri Mutton and Crab Thali. The event was attended by more than 500 people. A Visual presentation was also put together by the organisers about the Maharashtrian culture, geographic representation, and how the state was formed spoke about our beloved Shivaji Maharaj and his efforts to build the Marathi empire.

One of the visitors to the event, Sai Bedekar said, “I enjoyed the vibrant and colourful experience. Good vibes and great food, are all credit to the organising team at AMAI.” The organisers emphasise the need for such events to keep the youth engaged in culture, create a sense of belonging and provide a platform for the large Maharashtrian community to come together and feel a camaraderie.

Janjira Raiders (left) and Sindhudurg Lions (Right) pose after Final Match (Photo Supplied)

Cricket Action

The AMAI had also, recently, organised a successful sporting event, the Auckland Marathi Cricket League (AML) at Kumeu Cricket Club on 25 April 2023. Being the second year of the AMAI Cricket League, it saw more than 120 enthusiastic cricket players take part with 6 teams enlisted to play. The event saw eight female players who participated in the league as well. The names of all the teams were based on the Forts of Shivaji Maharaj: Torna Kings, Raigar Royals, Sindhudurg Lions, Janjira Raiders, Shivneri Paltans, and Sinhagad Titans.

The event began with an auction of the players from the previous year, following the much-loved IPL (Indian Premier League) format. This was conducted by the AML committee members Kaustubh Shinde, Vaibhav Naik, and Prashant Belwarkar.

The winners of this year’s trophy were Janjira Raiders, who claimed the title after an engaging match against Sindhudurg Lions. Both teams played well, and spectators enjoyed watching the games at Kumeu cricket ground.

AML 2023 winning team Janjira Raiders after the prize giving (Photo Supplied)

Neha Nalawade, President of the AMAI said, “We started AML to bring the younger crowd together with sports as a medium. We can see that our hard work is paid off as the number of people participating has increased from 70 to 120. Last year we had four teams and this year we had six teams, hoping to increase it to eight teams next year.”

Siddhesh Surve, from the winning team Janjira Raiders, said, “This was one of the best games of cricket of my life. I enjoyed bonding with my teammates over the past few weeks, meeting regularly for practice, making some good friends along the way, and living through the ups and downs of the performances during the game. I look forward to playing again next year and hope that we continue to organise such events in the future.”

A great turnout and community spirit made the weekend special for all (Photo Supplied)

About the Association

The Auckland Marathi Association Inc. emerged in 1995 when a few families from Maharashtra in New Zealand felt the need to bond around their shared culture and identity in a new land they were still learning to call home.

Ms Nalawade said, “Since its formation now, the Association has grown not just in numbers but in scope and ambition. Today, AMAI is more than a place to share a cultural identity, to come together and celebrate festivals and occasions. Second-generation Kiwi-Indians of Marathi parents contribute to activities and bring fresh ideas to the mix.

Performing art, classical and folk dance, music, and theatre, our events are tethered to Maharashtra’s rich literary and folk heritage. Members have made it a proud association,”

We envision a Marathi community that works together to create and maintain an artistic, peaceful, safe and desirable place to live in New Zealand.

With more than 1000 members, the community is growing in numbers, and it is the active participation and willingness to preserve and present their culture and traditions for the younger generation that makes them stand out.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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