The Indian sub-continent community in New Zealand is scoring another first when they unveil a Diwali event in the mall.
Ekta NZ Inc, a Wellington-based Indian community-based NGO, will hold a two-day at North City, a mall in Porirua, starting Oct 24. The event will run from 12pm to 2pm.
Sonam Srivastava, Ekta project lead for the “Diwali at the Mall” event, said this was the first time that a Diwali event was being held at a mall anywhere in Wellington.
“And this is significant. It is a reflection how the country is becoming more accepting of the diversity that currently exists. We can celebrate and partake in each other’s festivals,” she said in a press release emailed to Asia Samachar.
“We, in Ekta think that greater unity or Ekta can be achieved when we are able to have shared experiences and it is this share experience that is underlying our celebration. Besides display of dances and costumes, we are also having interactive activities such as saree tying.”
Foram Shah, who runs a restaurant in Porirua and is assisting in the event, said they wanted to bring Diwali to where people live and congregate daily.
“The foot traffic to the mall in any weekend is nearly equivalent to half of Porirua’s population. It is also interesting that approximately 9% of the population of Porirua is Asian and, if one looks at the rate at which people born overseas are settling Porirua, Indians have the fastest rate. The rate of increase was over 300% at the last count,” she said.
Ekta has been distributing food to the needy of Porirua since July, in addition to what it has been doing in Wellington since early 2019. It now runs weekly distribution at four sites in the greater Wellington region viz Lower Hutt, St Peter’s Church on Willis St, Courtney Place and Porirua.
(For further information on the “Diwali at the Mall”, contact Sonam Srivastava at: 020 4018 1808 and Ms Jill Oakely at 027 350 2739 for the Whenua Ukaipo Connectedness exhibition. For information on Ekta, contact Abhishek Sharma at 027 497 4677).
Wellington interfaith free kitchen hits one year mark (Asia Samachar, 14 May 2020)