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New comers to organise traditional art workshops


PRESS RELEASE (24 August 2011)

New comers to organise traditional art workshops to promote Rotorua Deepawali Festival 2011

The Rotorua Deepawali Festival 2011 committee is organising workshops for those interested in traditional Hindu arts.

The "Indian Art for Kids" workshop will be held at the Rotorua Arts Village on Saturday, 27 August 2011, from 12 noon to 3.00 p.m. for Rotorua children aged 6 to 12 years. In addition, a Rangoli (traditional Hindu art) workshop will be held for adults on Saturday, 17 September 2011, at the same location.

Hindu Council of New Zealand has been promoting inter-cultural exchanges in arts, culture and heritage. Celebrating Hindu festivals such as Deepawali and Holi on a wider community scale is part of sharing culture.

A number of pre-events have been planned to promote Rotorua Deepawali Festival.

The first two events are the art workshops that will be organised by Rotorua newcomers Mrs. Hetal Bhatt and Ms. Shereena Sumeran.

Hetal Bhatt is a new migrant from India who is currently studying at Waiariki Institute of Technology. She had also helped with Mehndi-Moko workshop during Rotorua Holi Festival in March 2011.

"Our motive of conducting these art workshops is to allow kids, as well as the adults, to express their talent, and give them a platform to explore their creative sides” said Hetal Bhatt.

Shereena Sumeran has recently returned to Rotorua after five years of university study in Auckland majoring in architecture. She is interested in Maori architecture. Shereena had participated in last year’s Deepawali festival as one of the models in the Indian fashion show during the cultural evening.

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"The Rotorua Deepawali Festival is a way of encouraging a shared diversity in the community, and holding such art workshops allows all cultures to learn about and participate in Indian cultural activities" Shereena Sumeran said.

The art workshop for kids is free, and the adult’s Rangoli workshop is $10 per head. Those interested can email

Other pre-event activities include an essay-writing competition for young writers and Hindu cultural display at Rotorua Library.

Students and young professionals aged 15 to 25 years are invited to participate in the essay competition. The essay topic is ‘Women Empowerment and Society”. The 750 to 1000 words essay is to be emailed to by 11 September 2011. The winner will be awarded $250 in prize money, and the winning article will be published in the Rotorua Deepawali Festival 2011 booklet. This competition is sponsored by ANZ.

The display of Hindu culture at the Rotorua Library will be set up from 12 September to 2 October 2011.

The Rotorua Deepawali Festival will be celebrated at the Rotorua Convention Centre on Saturday, 1 October 2011. Entry to the festival is free. This year’s focus is Women Empowerment and the festival is being planned, and organised by women.

Last year, more than 4000 people from both Rotorua and out of town attended this unique smoke-free, alcohol-free and meat-free family event. As in previous years, people will come from Auckland, Hamilton, Taupo, Tauranga, Whakatane, Taumarunui and Wellington.

“Our aim is to make Rotorua Deepawali Festival a role model community festival not only for Rotorua, but also for the rest of New Zealand,” said Ms Praneita Narayan, Secretary of the festival organising committee.

A measure of the popularity of the manner in which Deepawali is celebrated in Rotorua is that festival organisers from other cities have shown their keenness to participate and observe; and to see how this could be implemented in their respective cities.

“We will have two representatives from Malaysia who are coming to study our festival themes – importance for women, youth development and Hindu-Maori relations. Rotorua is setting standards and has provided a model festival for others to follow,”.

“We are also expecting some representatives from Australia this year,” Ms Narayan added.

Rotorua Deepawali Festival Committee welcomes volunteers genuinely interested in promoting Deepawali in the spirit of community well being on the principle of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” (World is one family).


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