New Hindu Heritage Centre in Rotorua to foster fraternal bond

Engagement with Maori: Hindu Council of New Zealand members at a Powhiri held at Apumoana Marae in Rotorua (Photo Supplied by HCNZ)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, May 21, 2024

New Zealanders keen on learning Hindi, Meditation, Yoga and understanding Hindu customs and traditions now have an opportunity to do so at the new Hindu Heritage Centre in Rotorua.

Located at 225 Malfroy Road in Rotorua, the soon-to-be-officially-inaugurated Centre is owned and operated by the Hindu Council of New Zealand to propagate the Hindu belief that the entire world is interconnected and all people are part of a single global family.

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

Popularly known as ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,’ the ‘World is One Family’ concept has been central to the formation and activities of the Hindu Council of New Zealand. The Council and its progeny, the Hindu Youth New Zealand have been epitomes of national unity in engaging with the Maori and other communities for almost three decades.

Hindu Council President Professor Guna Magesan described the opening of the Centre as ‘a significant milestone in the quest for cultural exchange and unity.’

“The Hindu Heritage Centre Rotorua will stand as a symbol of cultural richness and inclusivity. After months of planning and preparation, we are delighted to invite individuals, families and community organisations to utilise our facilities for their regular activities. The opening of the Hindu Heritage Centre represents a significant step forward in our efforts to cultivate a spirit of unity and cooperation within the community,” he said.

The Centre will conduct Saturday Hindi class from 3 pm to 4 pm, which Professor Magesan said is designed for anyone interested in learning the language.

“Our Community Hall will be available for meditation sessions every Thursday evening. open to all communities. We are in talks with experienced instructors to introduce music and dance classes. We are planning regular gatherings tailored for Hindu elders, Hindu women, and Hindu youth to foster community connection and engagement. There is also a proposal to establish a community garden,” he said.

Showcasing Hindu Art: A Demonstration at the Wellington Library (Photo Supplied by HCNZ)

Promoting Hindu Heritage

According to Professor Magesan, the new Hindu Heritage Centre aims to preserve, promote, and celebrate Hindu heritage, fostering cultural enrichment, and spiritual nourishment within the community.

“We plan to host regular classes in Rangoli (colourful art) and Mehndi (skin decoration using a paste created with Henna), Yoga sessions, reciting Hanuman Chalisa, traditional music and dance classes and Hindu scripture classes. Educational programmes, workshops and seminars to deepen understanding of Hindu traditions and practices will be a part of the activities of the Centre,” he said.

The Centre will also mark all major Hindu Festivals including Holi, Navratri and Diwali, apart from hosting music and dance performances. Exhibitions highlighting the richness of Hindu culture are also on the cards, he said.

Professor Magesan said that the new Heritage Centre will actively engage with the Rotorua and neighbouring communities.

Rotorua Multicultural Council President Dr Margriet Theron with Administrator Leidy Monsalves Executive Officer Yumiko Kawano at the Hindu Heritage Centre in Rotorua (Photo Supplied by HCNZ)

“Beyond cultural exchange, the Centre will serve as a venue for community events, meetings, and private functions. Collaboration with the Rotorua Multicultural Council and its member organisations is being discussed. Recently, Dr Margriet Theron, President of Rotorua Multicultural Council, with her team members Leidy Monsalves (Administrator) and Yumiko Kawano (Executive Officer), visited the Centre,” he said.

“We seek public support through volunteers, donations, and active participation to ensure the continued preservation and promotion of our rich cultural heritage,” he added.

Professor Guna Magesan can be contacted on 021-0345621; Email: hindu.nz@gmail.com

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