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The spirit of entrepreneurship and determination for the next 75 years

National List MP Melissa Lee (File Photo)

Melissa Lee
Wellington, August 15, 2022

As the National Party Spokesperson for Ethnic Communities, I want to acknowledge the 75th anniversary of the Independence of India and the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations that have been taking place globally over the year.

The foundation of India as an independent nation has seen it grow from strength to strength as a powerhouse of human endeavour and economic progress. The role of India as one of the world’s largest democracies has helped shape the lives of many through local and international efforts to combat illiteracy and promote wellbeing and health for all people no matter their backgrounds. India’s role as a multi-ethnic, multi-faith country that embraces the challenges of diversity has seen it flourish as a cultural wellspring over its 75 years of nationhood. The work of these generations of leadership and the continued work of the next 75 years of opportunity will only further India’s place as a vital partner for all nations globally.

The role of the New Zealand Indian community, nearly ¼ million strong cannot be underestimated. From politics to sports to education and the arts, our local and unique Kiwi-Indian identity provides a special relationship from our shores to South Asia. Although our nation is small in size compared to the Indian Subcontinent, we are big in our voices and are proud to build our friendships year on year with the Indian nation.

The cultural celebrations across all regions and ethnicities of India are emerging as core parts of New Zealand’s creative landscapes. From Diwali to Onam, Baisakhi and Holi, New Zealanders of all walks of life and communities have welcomed and adopted Indian traditions into our own.

I value and cherish the many events, festivals, dinners and community celebrations I have the privilege of attending and speaking to across New Zealand with our vibrant Indian societies.

On this 75th Anniversary of India, I think back on the exciting country full of opportunities I visited in 2019. The Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai as a hotbed of commercial enterprise, the Bollywood entertainment community full of creative innovation and the way that the Indian Institutes of Technology are developing new educational initiatives and opportunities for everyone all show how far India continues to come in the 21st century.

We do not know what new revelations and ideas will come in the next 75 years of Indian statehood but one element is absolutely clear, they will be uniquely Indian and will build on the spirit of entrepreneurship and determination that has seen India becoming an envy of the Asia-Pacific. All of New Zealand welcomes India continuing to be a friend and partner for the international community as we seek continuing closer ties in trade, culture and community for many decades to come.

As we look forward to another 75 years of a valued strong Indian-New Zealand friendship I wish everyone in New Zealand celebrating a very happy Indian Independence Day!

Satyameva Jayate!

Melissa Lee is a Member of Parliament on the National List and the Party’s Spokesperson for Ethnic Communities, Broadcasting and Media, Digital Economy and Communications.

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