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The Journey through the Years

With just six weeks to go, two major “disasters” are likely to darken 2010, both occurring over the past two months. The earthquake in Christchurch on September 4, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale was devastating, although mercifully there was no loss of lives. Aftershocks were felt on several days thereafter but the way the communities coped with the tragedy was remarkable.

Some properties were extensively damaged and it would take a while before life in the Garden City shows semblance of normalcy. Prime Minister John Key, Opposition Leader Phil Goff, Ministers, MPs and many others have visited the City to learn first-hand the magnitude of the problem and assist in relief measures. A number Non-Government Organisations have been helping in mobilising resources to help rebuild Christchurch.

Exactly a month later (on October 4), another “disaster” struck in the TVNZ Complex in Auckland, as Paul Henry, then the host of ‘Breakfast’ programme on TV1 commented about Governor-General Anand Satyanand, which angered most New Zealanders. Paul’s earlier insulting remarks about other celebrities including Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit had created a stir. The Indian Government summoned our High Commissioner in Delhi to deliver a demarche, an unusual move.

We carried the reactions of a cross-section of the community providing extensive coverage to the unfortunate episodes in our October 15 and November 1 issue.

The year began with Queen Elizabeth II appointing former Prime Minister Helen Clark to the Order of New Zealand, heading the New Year’s Honours List.

Cyclone Mick ravaged Fiji, leaving a trail of damage and destruction.

The murder of Hiren Mohini (39), a taxi driver in Mt Eden, Auckland caused another outrage from the Indian and other communities. The accused had fled to China, with little chance of repatriation. The Government has since then put in place new regulations to improve the safety of taxi drivers.

India’s ruling Congress Party General Secretary, Rahul Gandhi was in New Zealand in February as the first recipient of the “Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship.’

We announced that the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2010 would have two new categories (‘The Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ and the ‘Best Businesswoman of the Year’). The invitation for entries began on March 1 and concluded on August 31.

The New Zealand Sikh Society Auckland Inc created history by bringing into the country 31 Saroops of Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of Sikhism.

Elders in New Zealand were increasingly becoming isolated from their families and suffered neglect and indifference from other members of the society, their own family members, including sons and daughters. Former Waikato University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Peter Oetti said native New Zealanders became lonely, as they grew older with their children moving away overseas.

Free Trade Agreement between India and New Zealand was being progressed.

The official visit of Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalyar Ravi in September was eventful. His engagements with a number of community groups brought to the fore several concerns, which he said would be addressed by his Government.

Queen Elizabeth II approved the use of the honorific ‘The Right Honourable’ for the offices of Governor-General, Prime Minister, Parliament Speaker and the Chief Justice of New Zealand.

Elections for the Auckland City Council were heated and Len Brown won the Mayoral post with a huge majority. The campaign process was clouded by an alleged fraud of the electoral rolls in the Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe. Four people are facing charges in the Manukau District Court.

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