Hindu Council promotes ‘Unity in Diversity’ through Deepawali festival

Hindu Council promotes ‘Unity in Diversity’ through Deepawali festival

Rotorua will once again celebrate the richness of Deepawali festival on Saturday, 6 October 2012 at the Rotorua Convention Centre. This year the theme of the festival is ‘Unity in Diversity‘.

In the first year, a message of healthy lifestyle and care for environment was promoted through Smoke-free, Alcohol-free and Meat-free festival, which is also in accordance with Hindu cultural practice. In the following years, the themes were Hindu Maori relations, Developing Youth Leadership, and Women Empowerment, respectively.

Deepawali, a well-known Hindu festival, is not only celebrated by people of India, but also by Hindu people of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Fiji and many other countries. In an increasingly multi-cultural New Zealand not only Hindus from all over the world, but all communities participate in events like Deepawali and share their cultures with each other.

Hindu Council of New Zealand made Deepawali a public festival in Rotorua in 2008. With the support of like-minded community oriented organisations and associations Rotorua Deepawali Festival has increasingly become an anticipated community event in the first weekend of October.

Each year, an increasing number of community organisations have supported the Rotorua Deepawali Festival (RDF) in the spirit of understanding and mutual respect, thereby developing and strengthening inter-cultural bonds. This year, in addition to those who have participated in the past years, RDF will see participation from Rotorua Nepalese community, Rotorua Malayali Association, Rotorua Chinese Association, Friends of India Society, and members from Maori Indian community. BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir (first Hindu temple in Rotorua) and Thiru Subramaniam Temple (Auckland) are also expected to join the festival.

A number of dance schools from different cities will perform, in addition to Rotorua based performers. This includes Anujay School of Dance, Indiance Dance Group, Padma School of Classical Dance, and Monisha School of Dance (all from Auckland), and Natraj School of Dance (Wellington).

This year Rotorua Deepawali Festival will incorporate a special celebration organised by Hindu Council of New Zealand.

Recently, the community work of Hindu Council of New Zealand was recognised by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and Hindu Council of New Zealand has been accorded a Special Consultative Status with them. It means Hindu Council of NZ is now a part of the Non-Governmental Organizations Branch of the United Nations.

This indeed recognises the constructive work and positive attitude of the Hindu community in New Zealand, and in particular of the Hindu Council of New Zealand.

To celebrate the recognition of Hindu Council by United Nation’s ECOSOC an official function (6.30 pm to 7.15 pm) will be organised before the Deepawali cultural programme. All the volunteers, supporters, performers, sponsors, guests and participants who have contributed to the growth of the Hindu Council of New Zealand over the past decade will be acknowledged in this function.

A number of government agencies, sponsors and other guests including Office of Ethnic Affairs, Human Rights Commission, NZ Police, Rotorua Trust, Waiariki Institute of Technology, and local Members of Parliament have confirmed participating in the official function of the festival.

This year, Hindu Council of New Zealand is raising funds from the Hindu community to organise the festival and the fireworks instead of going for public funding.

Entry to public to the cultural show, as in the past, is free; and it will be followed by a grand display of fireworks at 9.15 pm.

If you are interested in attending the free cultural show, please send an email to either rotorua.deepawali@gmail.com or hindu.nz@gmail.com to reserve your place. Fireworks will be held in the open, and everyone is welcome to join.

The Hindu Council of New Zealand and the Rotorua Deepawali Festival committee welcomes volunteers genuinely interested in promoting Rotorua Deepawali Festival in the spirit of community well-being on the principle of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (World is one family).

For more information, please contact:

Dr Guna Magesan JP
General Secretary, Hindu Council of New Zealand
Festival Coordinator, Rotorua Deepawali Festival 2012
021 034 5621?rotorua.deepawali@gmail.com
Website: http://rotoruadeepawali.org/ and http://hinducouncil.org.nz/



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