Attended by Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key, along with other MPs, dignitaries and representatives from across New Zealand’s ethnic communities, the Prime Minister opened the evening by acknowledging and recognising all Indians for their diverse contribution to New Zealand.
The evening was supported by the New Zealand Central Indian Association (NZICA) and has been over the past thirteen years began with an opening invocation prayer, lighting of the Diya to symbolise the victory of light over darkness and the VIP guests were presented with garlands. Speeches were then delivered by Minister Lotu-Iiga, Prime Minister, the President of New Zealand Indian Central Association – Harshad Patel and Charge de Affairs, High Commission of India – Mr Sandeep Sood which were followed by cultural performances
“One of the things that makes New Zealand such a wonderful place to live is the way in which communities actively participate across wider society to share and celebrate their cultures and traditions.” says OEC Director, Berlinda Chin.
The New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) was established by three regional Indian Associations in 1926 and is now an organisation representing seventeen Indian organisations consisting of over 5,000 Indians across NZ. Members of NZICA Inc. have worked relentlessly in the last 89 years creating a good living environment for Indians in New Zealand whilst also representing Kiwi-Indians.
The Indian community is one of the largest and fastest growing ethnic communities in New Zealand. The numerous communities that form the wider Indian community are distinguished by factors such as religion and language.
Whilst the majority of New Zealand Indians are Hindu, there are also Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians originating from India, Pakistan, Fiji, Malaysia, Africa and Europe.
Hindi is spoken by 65,622 New Zealanders making it the most widely spoken Indian language and the fourth most spoken language in the country. However there are communities that identify more strongly with other languages such as Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Bengali and Malayam.