Raksha Bandhan gains popularity across New Zealand communities

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster and Indian High Commission Second Secretary (Media, Information and Culture) Durga Doss had their ‘wrist bonded’ with a Rakhi at the event (Photo Supplied)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, September 18, 2022

The fraternal and eternal bond that exists between brothers and sisters was the highlight of a colourful event held recently in the Capital.

Raksha Bandhan is beginning to acquire a wider dimension in this country, with the increasing participation of other communities and people of various faiths and the event held on August 20, 2022, at Community Centre at the newly opened $90 million Indian High Commission complex in Wellington was no exception.

Among the dignitaries who attended the event organised by the Wellington Chapter of the Hindu Council of New Zealand were Wellington Mayor Andy Foster and his wife Ann, Member of Parliament Greg O’Connor (Labour),  Te Ropu Taki Maori Chairperson Ria Earp, New Zealand Police Officers, Wellington Free Ambulance Paramedics officials and community leaders.

Hindu Council of New Zealand Wellington Chapter President Vijeshni Rattan welcomed the gathering with a visual presentation of the activities of the Council, following a prayer song rendered by the students of the Wellington Hindi School.

Senior Sergeants Kannan Alagappan, Raj Bhullar and Raveen Annamalai, were honoured, with Selva Ramasami and others at the event (Photo Supplied)

Safety and bond aspects

Mr Foster reflected on the safety (Raksha) and bond (Bandhan) aspects of the festival.

“On this day, sisters tie Rakhi on the wrists of their brothers, wishing them a long, prosperous and happy life. In return, the brother will promise them lifelong protection. This filial relationship is now expanded to include not just families but between communities,” he said and added that the Hindu Council of New Zealand has been celebrating Raksha Bandhan for many years and that the festival is the best way to strengthen the bond between various communities.

Indian High Commission Second Secretary (Press, Information and Culture) Durga Dass said that the Raksha Bandhan can be traced to the bond between Lord Krishna and Droupadi in Mahabharata.

“This festival symbolises the diplomatic relations between nations. As an example, Rakhi was gifted by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to the Prime Minister of India as a symbol of bond and protection,” he said.

Children performing at the Raksha Bandhan Festival (Photo Supplied)

Celebrating cultural diversity

Mr O’Connor shared his experiences about cultural diversity in New Zealand and the need for recognising and celebrating it.

Ms Earp spoke about spiritual care in Te Ao Maori and how it can be beneficial to the health sector, particularly in hospice care. This resonated well with the audience due to the similarity with Hindu tradition and culture.

“It was an honour to receive the wrist band – Rakhi that had spiritual and cultural links to the Hindu culture. I was delighted by the colour, the energy, the songs, and the dance celebrating the Raksha Bandhan Festival,” she said.

Honorary Public Relations Representative for Nepal Tourism Dr Ramil Andhikari described Raksha Bandhan as the pride of Hindu culture.

“Raksha Bandhan helps us understand ourselves better and appreciate who we are. This event was well collaborated with multiculturalism and embraced sharing culture and food,” he said.

Johnsonville Community Trust and Johnsonville Community Association President Tony Randle said that music and dance at Raksha Bandhan events are always captivating and that the performance of children and young adults is inspiring.

Indian High Commission Culture and Yoga Associate Ankita Sood conducted an interactive session on making friendship with self and connecting it to mental health.

Public Servants honoured

Senior Sergeants Kannan Alagappan, Raj Bhullar and Sergeant Shaun Selvaratnam from the New Zealand Police and Wellington Free Ambulance General Manager (Operations) Eric Tibbott and Emergency Dispatcher Deepak were honoured with a Rakhi for their first respondent services to keep the community protected and safe.

The cultural programme included Pushpanjali (floral tribute) in Kuchipudi style by Akshara Ravi and students of the Sri Chakra Dance group; Banga dance (pots dance) by New Zealand Filifest, a Filipino Cultural Group and Binasuan, a traditional glass dance by Jennifer Connolly, Nepali dance by children, Kathak by Ananya Ghai and Siddhi Kalakota, Tai Chi storytelling by Andrew Hardwick and the Lion dance from Anglican Chinese Mission Lion Dance Troupe.

Dr Ramil Adhikari, Aotearoa New Zealand Federation of Tamil Sangams President Raveen Annamalai, Hindu Priest Pathman Iyer and Former President of the Nepalese Society of Wellington Tribhuvan Shrestha were acknowledged for their services to the community.

Ravi Bharathan and Akshara Ravi were the Masters of Ceremonies.

Hindu Council New Zealand Executive Committee Member and Religious Diversity Centre Trustee Selva Ramasami thanked the Indian High Commission, guests and performers.

“Raksha Bandhan in essence is a celebration promoting Aroha and Hononga- Love and Bonding in Aotearoa,” he said.

-Source: The Hindu Council of New Zealand

Share this story

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement