Raksha Bandhan sanctifies and fosters sororal love

HOTA brought together vibrant communities together at the Raksha Bandhan 2022 (Photo Supplied)

Staff Reporter
Auckland, August 30, 2022

Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum celebrated the Raksha Bandhan Festival on Sunday, August 7, 2022, at Mahatma Gandhi Centre, Auckland City.

The Hindu Council of New Zealand hosted the Festival which was attended by more than 500 men and women, with Tamaki Makaurau Police Ethnic Responsiveness Manager Jessica Phuang as the Guest of Honour.

Bond of Universal Fellowship

The Festival celebrates the infallible bond of universal fellowship and is an occasion to venerate womanhood. Hindus and other Dharma-based communities recognise that since time immemorial the true strength of social structures is the connections and bonds between their members that affirm true fellowship between them.

They also recognise the indisputable role that women play in nurturing and enhancing the universal bond of fellowship.

Ms Phuang said that only in Hindu and Asian traditions that programmes begin with the lighting of the traditional lamp.

“The lamp signifies the beginning of brightness and removal of darkness, a beautiful tradition that symbolises and means a lot. It has been a beautiful day for me to be present among multiple community organisations, interacting with them and seeing the celebration of social cohesion driven by youth through DharmaFest in the morning session and by HOTA in the afternoon session,” she said.

Cultural heritage highlighted

Classical and folk dances were performed at the Festival, which began with a Bharatiya-Maori fusion dance, choreographed by Jayalakshmi Parasuraman, Director of Anujay School of Indian Dance. The participants performed the welcome song Haere Mai followed by an Indian semi-classical dance ‘Devi Stuthi’ and Poi.

Among the other items performed were a folk dance from Uttarakhand, a Bharata Natyam-Kathak Fusion Dance by Auckland Marathi Association, Bharata Natyam by the students of the Padma School of Dance, the Gujarati Garba and a Sri Lankan traditional dance.

Event Coordinator Nitika Sharma said that the enthusiasm and dedication of the performers and volunteers were inspiring.

“Seeing the community come together in such big numbers gives us the confidence that the sense of community and togetherness is surely returning.

Former Hindu Council of New Zealand President Vinod Kumar speaking at the Raksha Bandhan Festival 2022 (Photo Supplied)

About HOTA

The HOTA Forum was established in May 2010 to be a platform, bringing together all Hindu organisations, Temples, and associations throughout New Zealand. More than 55 organisations have been active members of HOTA. Each year, a Hindu organisation, Temple or association voluntarily takes lead in hosting the HOTA forum for a year. The host holds on to the Ekta Shankh (a symbol of unity) as the baton symbolising their lead of the programmes for the year.

Membership in the HOTA Forum is open to all Hindu organisations, Temples and associations in New Zealand. For further information, please contact Nitika Sharma by email forum@hota.org.nz for details.

HOTA Forum is coordinated by the Hindu Council of New Zealand Incorporated.

About the Hindu Council of New Zealand

The Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) has been serving the New Zealand community for the last 25 years to ensure that the Hindu community has a bold footprint in Aotearoa whilst maintaining the authenticity of the Hindu Identity.

HCNZ represents and provides a voice to all Hindus in Aotearoa New Zealand through multiple events, forums, and conversations and engagements with government and non-government agencies. It brings the community together by organising National conferences; celebrating Hindu Festivals and Matariki; organising Hindu-Maori Hui and annual Marae stays to foster understanding and cohesiveness; leading a delegation of Maori Elders to India; organising youth leadership and Hindu Heritage camps; and establishing Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum.

The Hindu Council, at its Annual General Meeting 2022 announced a new team with the appointment of Dr Guna Magesan as President and Nitika Sharma as General Secretary.

Dr Magesan is a retired Senior Scientist and a Professor. He has been with HCNZ since its inception as the National Coordinator and General Secretary in 2006 when the organisation was registered as an incorporated society. Dr Magesan played an instrumental role in shaping the vision and pathway of the organisation over the last 25 years.

Nitika Sharma was the President of Hindu Youth New Zealand and has now taken over the post of General Secretary of HCNZ. She is a Director at KPMG.

Mr Vinod Kumar, who has been the President of HCNZ since 2006 continues to support the HCNZ ensuring that the Organisation continues its mission and vision.

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