New Zealand Telugu Association to add colour to Makar Sankranti 2023

Rangoli Competition with 50 teams on Saturday, January 14 for Silver Jubilee

Member of the Executive Committee at the NZTA Calendar launch on January 1, 2023: Standing (from left) Arun Reddy Gone, Suprith Tumkur, Suprabha Pebbeti, Suneel Kuncha, Srilatha Magatala, Hema Anantha, Murthy Digamarthi, Abhijith Konda and Janak Raj Bandi. Seated (from left) Kavitha Chiluka, Pooja Chakilam, Navitha Sreeram, Sunitha Itla and Sushma Kuncha (INL Photo)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, January 2, 2023

The New Zealand Telugu Association (NZTA), which has been trailblazing in the South Indian community, has announced an ‘extensive Rangoli Competition’ as a part of its Makar Sankranti celebrations next weekend.

The event will also mark the beginning of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Association, making it the second oldest South Indian Association in Auckland.

Grand Revival this year

President Suneel Kuncha told Indian Newslink that up to 50 teams are expected to participate in the Competition, details of which are being worked out.

(The above Video can also be seen on Indian Newslink YouTube Channel)

“The Makar Sankranti Festival, which NZTA observes as ‘Sankranti Sambaralu’ (Celebration) is scheduled to be held on Saturday, January 14, 2023, from 4 pm at the Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall located at 13 May Road, Mt Roskill. With 50 teams expected to enlist, this would perhaps be one of the biggest Rangoli competitions to be held in Auckland,” he said.

He said the Association will present Sarees for the best five teams comprising participants aged 16 years and above in addition to the existing prizes for contestants of 15 years and below.

NZTA is proud to mark its Silver Jubilee this year: President Suneel Kuncha (Photo Supplied)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This will be a part of our 25th Anniversary celebrations, along with many other events that will be held simultaneously on January 14, 2023,” Mr Kuncha said.

These will include a Kite Festival (with kites provided by NZTA), a Dressing Contest for children on the Makar Sankranti theme and Bhogi Pallu, a time-honoured blessing ceremony for the youth and traditional festival dinner.

“We have also planned to conduct Ugadi Utsavam in March ushering in the Telugu New Year. We will finalise the details of this event shortly,” Mr Kuncha said.

The New Team

Mr Kuncha was elected to the post of President at the Annual General Meeting of NZTA held on October 28, 2022. Srilatha Magatala, former President was elected to the post of General Secretary.

Among the others in the 2023 team are Anitha Mogilicharla, Arun Reddy Gone, Janak Raj Bandi, Murthy Digamarthi, Hema Anantha (Vice-Presidents), Suprabha Pebbeti (Treasurer) Navitha Sreeram (Joint Treasurer), Bhargavi Matta, Kuldeep Ganisetti and Sunita Itla (Joint Secretaries). Among the others elected to the Executive Committee are Uma Pasumarthi, Kavitha Chiluka, Pooja Chakilam, Sushma Kuncha, Neeraja Maddala, Girish Neelapu, Abhijith Konda and Suprith Tumkur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were introduced to guests and members at the combined Dussera-Diwali celebrations held on November 6, 2022, at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Auckland Central.

The new team took office on January 1, 2023, to commemorate which the Executive Committee launched the ‘NZTA 2023 Calendar’ at a special ceremony held at Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan located at 12 Princes Street in Onehunga.

About Makar Sankranti

Most Hindu festivals follow the position of the Moon and are based on the Lunar calendar. Thus, the dates of festivals change every year. But Makar Sankranti is a festival which falls on the same day every year as it follows the Solar calendar.

However, once every 80 years, due to revolution, it is postponed by one day. Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of January every year (sometimes on the 15th) for now. From 2050, it is predicted that the Festival will be observed on January 15 (and occasionally on January 16).

On Makar Sankranti, the Sun enters Capricorn or Makara (Indian Rashi) and hence the name. The word ‘Sankranti’ signifies the movement of the Sun from one zodiac sign to another. Thus, the name of the festival literally means the movement of the Sun into Capricorn.

Enthusiasm runs high at the NZTA ‘Sankranti Sambaralu’ festival (NZTA 2019 Photo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Makar Sankranti is one of the oldest solstice festivals and falls on the equinox, day and night on this day are believed to be equally long. The post-festival period is officially the beginning of spring or the onset of Indian summer during which days become longer, and nights shorter.

Though extremely popular as Makar Sankranti, the Festival is predominantly a harvest festival and is celebrated throughout India. In Tamil Nadu, it is marked as Pongal and in the North as Lohri.  Uttarayan, Maghi, and Khichdi are some other names of the same festival.

About New Zealand Telugu Association

Established in 1998, NZTA conducts and participates in several Indian observances. These include the Kite Festival, Rangoli, Holi, Ugadi, India’s Independence Day, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Bathukamma Festival (seven days by Hindu women) and Dassera and Diwali.

Mr Kuncha said that the Association also organises Blood donation camps, ‘Go Green Plantation’ and the Big Day Out.

“Our members and volunteers planted more than 1000 trees in Auckland in recent years. We are keen to be seen as a responsible organisation that cares for the environment and our people. NZTA members are known for compassion and the ability to rise to the occasion to discharge their community and social obligations. Such a spirit is tested when someone is in distress or dies suddenly. The executive team and other members are always quick to act, contacting law enforcement agencies, government departments, the Indian High Commission and the families of the concerned in India to comply with the formalities,” he said.

The folk dance item presented by NZTA at the First Annual Indian Newslink Festivals of South India held on September 21, 2019, enlisted wide appreciation (INL Photo by Narendra Bedekar)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enterprising population

General Secretary Srilatha Magatala said that the Association honours and thanks all members, sponsors, the core Committee, other associated communities and New Zealanders in general who have stepped up to volunteer their time, efforts and money.

“They have been undoubtedly the backbone and lifeblood of NZTA. On behalf of our Executive Committee, I extend our special appreciation to our former Presidents, Vice-Presidents and General Secretaries for leading their respective teams and keeping the Association progressive with impressive and inspiring programmes and projects,” she said.

There are about 10,000 Telugu-speaking people in New Zealand, from the two States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, engaged in various sectors of the economy – as manufacturers, scientists, engineers, doctors, accountants, software specialists, retailers and other professionals.

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