West Auckland brings colourful spectacles of Holi
Media Release for Immediate Publication
Friday 24 March 2017
West Auckland brings colourful spectacles of Holi in the community
An enthusiastic crowd of over four thousand community members of all faiths enjoyed traditional Indian food, music and dancing for the twelfth annual Holi Mela at Trusts Arena, Henderson, on Sunday, March 19.
Holi is a traditional Hindu festival to celebrate the beginning of spring with its abundant colors and vibrant life.
Using colorful Gulal powder and water, participants painted themselves with the colors of the season and learned more about this Hindu tradition.
The Waitakere Indian Association (WIA) is a community organization made up of diverse people working side-by-side to strengthen community in West Auckland. The Holi Festival is one of several events organized by Waitakere Indian Association cultural engagement committee, a volunteer-led group created to celebrate the customs and traditions of different cultures in our increasingly diverse community, so everyone feels connected and welcome at the WIA.
“We are proud to host such a festive celebration at WIA,” said Mahendra Sharma, President of Waitakere Indian Association. “The event was a great success thanks in large part to our committee volunteers, who organize initiatives that celebrate the diverse cultures of our community.”
“It has been the motto and effort of Waitakere Indian Association to promote diversity in our area. Now Waitakere Holi Mela has developed into an event not only for Indians but also for wider New Zealand community. Celebrating the festival of colours in our diversely cultural city is seen as a way to continue building better relations with the community”, says Mahendra.
“As we have said, migrants have added that colour to the cultural landscape of the country. Especially those who integrate and work with the wider community. To this end, WIA has built bridges with the local Maori Community and we are proud to say that we work together well”.
Waitakere Indian Association have mounted community patrol in and around Henderson, and will also be providing Indian Wardens to enhance confidence and law and order in our locality.
“Waitakere Indian Association is committed to increasing cultural engagement within our communities,” said Councillor Penny Hulse, who was speaking on behalf of the Auckland Council and The Trusts Charitable Foundation. Peter Chan, Vice Chair of Henderson-Massey Local board and Lynette Adams from Waitakere Licensing Trusts were also present.
Speaking at the event Minister for Pacific Peoples, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Hon Alfred Ngaro said, “We believe that with a greater understanding and acceptance of our differences, we can grow into a stronger, more supportive community where individuals feel comfortable being themselves and have every opportunity to thrive”. He was joined by Members of Parliament – Parliamentary Private Secretary to Minister of Police Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi; Parliamentary Private Secretary to Minister of Ethnic Communities Melissa Lee and Dr Parmjeet Parmar.
Leader of the Opposition Hon Andrew Little thanked the Waitakere Indian Association for bringing the Holi event together where not just Indian community but also other communities can come together and showcase the true diversity of the changing face of New Zealand. He was joined by the local Member of Parliament Phil Twyford, Members of Parliament Michael Wood, Carmel Sepuloni and Labour candidate for Maungakiekie Priyanca Radhakrishnan.
Representing Hon Winston Peters from New Zealand First, Member of Parliament Mahesh Binder acknowledged Waitakere Indian Association as pioneers for celebrating Holi with the wider community.
Partners from the very beginning Radio Tarana’s Managing Director Robert Khan, praised Waitakere Indian Association for being community focused and delivering events that not only bring the Indian community together but provide other communities to learn more about the Indian culture. “It is important to me that our families know and loves people of all cultures. The more we know and understand each other, the more love there is to share,” he said.
Waitakere Indian Association would like to acknowledge the support of various local communities and residents in West Auckland, Indian Newslink, Radio Tarana, Henderson-Massey Local Board, Whau Local Board and The Trusts Charitable Foundation for making this event a grand success.
More information, videos and photographs from the event can be found on the Facebook site of Waitakere Indian Association on https://www.facebook.com/WaitakereIndianAssociation/
Waitakere Indian Association:
Waitakere Indian Association (WIA) WIA was formed in year 2000 by a concerned and dedicated group of Waitakere Residents after receiving requests from members of the Indian community. In a fast growing city we are experiencing a influx of new residents/immigrants of Indian origin and to cater for their ethnic needs of culture, language and values, WIA has been instrumental in providing this platform for the Indian community.
WIA has been and is working with the City council and other NGO agencies in promoting events that allow the Indian community to share their culture and traditions with the rest the community in Waitakere City .For more information, please visit www.ita.nz