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Hindu community honours the guardians at Raksha Bandhan

Hindu Dharma has strong inclusive and respect-oriented principles. These principles are an integral part our festivals. One such festival introduced by Hindu organisations, Temples and Association (HOTA) to New Zealanders is the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan.

The word 'Raksha' means protection, whilst 'Bandhan' is the verb to tie. Traditionally, sisters tie a rakhi, a bracelet made of interwoven red and gold threads, around their brothers' wrists to celebrate their relationship or "close bond". It is the celebration of universal fellowship and veneration of womanhood.

The Wellington Chapter of Hindu Council New Zealand celebrated the Raksha Bandhan on Saturday, 31st August 2019 at the Hutt Central School, Lower Hutt.

At the celebration, the guardians of the communities were honoured by tying rakhis and thanking them for their service to the communities. The guests who were honoured were Mayor of Hutt City, His Worship Ray Wallace, Members of Parliament Chris Bishop, Ginny Andersen, Greg O'Connor, Inspector Rakesh Naidoo of New Zealand Police and Luke Qin, volunteer firefighter and President of the Wellington Chinese Association.

The one common theme emerging from the guests were the important contribution of the Hindu community to the social cohesion and well- being of New Zealanders. Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Parliamentary Private Secretary for Minister for Ethnic Communities, in her video message extended her best wishes for the celebration.

In the spirit of the festival and to celebrate our bond with each other, everyone who attended, including the inter-faith and multicultural communities along with the various Hindu Organisations and Associations and business owners, tied rakhis to each other. The act of tying the rakhis signifies that we endeavour to take responsibility to protect ourselves and others and live in harmoniously as a single community “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - the world is one big family”.

The audience were appreciative of the performances from different cultures such as Irish, African and Indian. They were later treated with delicious Indian snacks.

The President of the Wellington Chapter of the Hindu Council, Vijeshni Rattan was very proud of her team for delivering this successful event.

Mr.Vinod Kumar, the National President of Hindu Council of New Zealand in his message endorses the initiative from the government, to foster peace and harmony in our country post March 15 Christchurch terror attack. He reiterated that The Hindu Council which represents the largest religious community (non- Christian) in NZ, is well prepared to have a meaningful engagement with the government and other religious communities.

Since 2007, The Hindu Council of New Zealand has been advocating policies with New Zealand government agencies such as Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand Police, the Children’s Commission, Department of Immigration and the Human Rights Commission.

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