May 9, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

HOTA Forum meets on Issues facing Hindus in New Zealand

3 min read

The Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum held an interactive workshop at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre, managed by the Auckland Indian Association, on February 20, 2011.

About 50 representatives from a number of Hindu Organisations, temples and associations attended the forum facilitated by Dr Rajen Prasad, Member of Parliament.

This workshop discussed social, cultural and Dharmic (pertaining to Dharma) matters of concern before the Hindu community. Unity of the Hindu community based on strong ethical foundations and Hindu Dharmas philosophy is the strength HOTA seeks to draw on.

The socio cultural spiritual value system of Hindu Dharma is the strong foundation on which the exemplary unity of the world Hindu society is based, said Mamta Bhikha, Secretary of HOTA forum.

Vai Ravindran, President of the New Zealand Hindu Temple Society (HOTA host for 2011), welcomed the participants.

The forum split into four parallel sessions to discuss the following topics, and systematically identify and develop actions to manage issues before Hindus in New Zealand:

Session 1: Challenges before Hindu Dharma in New Zealand; facilitated by Yogesh Punja, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Ashram.

Session 2: Social issues concerning Hindu society in New Zealand; facilitated by Subra Subramaniam, New Zealand Thirumurugan Temple Society.

Session 3: Promoting Yoga, Ayurveda and Dhyan (Meditation) in New Zealand; facilitated by Swami Karma Karuna, Anahata Yoga Health & Education Trust.

Session 4: Engaging Hindu youth in New Zealand; facilitated by Komal Shah from Hindu Youth New Zealand.

These sessions generated a number of ideas for action:

  1. Hindu organisations and temples should be more closely involved with the community in social and family issues
  2. Temples and organisations should offer social support for families, this will be a good setting to promote Hindu values integrating Kiwi life in Hindu families and youth
  3. Offer confidential advice and support to victims of family violence through culturally appropriate social services
  4. Amicably resolve family problems so spouses get culturally appropriate advice and help
  5. Build communitys capacity to inform, plan, deliver and implement community developments programmes that concern their own community
  6. Early education makes a significant difference, hence there must be programs to inculcate Hindu values in youth; organise National Hindu Youth conference
  7. Organise regular conferences focusing on Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation to promote awareness of these disciplines in mainstream new Zealand society; document current work e.g., Yoga teachers are conducting classes in prisons and there is anecdotal evidence of beneficial changes, but this is not documented yet
  8. Explore the possibility of introducing Yoga in school curriculum and hospitals; engage Government agencies so that Yoga is on a par with sports, Tai Chi etc.
  9. Soften the cultural impact of immigration on new comers to New Zealand, and ease integration into New Zealand
  10. Actively take steps to prevent misrepresentation of Hindus by the New Zealand media

In order to act on these issues, four working groups corresponding to the four parallel sessions were formed. They are open to any similar thinking member of the public who wishes to be part of the solution. The working groups will pursue targeted actions and encourage that Hindu organisations connect strongly with the community, interact with government bodies, and make a positive impact on the wider New Zealand society.

Ilango Krishnamoorthy, General Secretary, New Zealand Hindu Temple Society, announced the Raksha Bandhan Festival 2011.

The Hindu Festival of Raksha Bandhan celebrates universal fellowship and veneration of womanhood. The festival was celebrated in Auckland last year, where more than 700 people attended the smoke free and alcohol free family event, at absolutely no cost.

The HOTA Forum was launched at the 3rd New Zealand Hindu Conference in May 2010. Its aim is to increase collaboration amongst Hindu organisations, temples, and associations based on the Hindu integrative concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one large family).

HOTA Forum is open to any organisation that works from a Hindu perspective, or is based on Hindu philosophy of inclusiveness, and for the betterment of community.

For more information, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]

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