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12 Apr 2024

Community bulletin: Awards shine through as summer winds down

11:42 am on 12 April 2024
The winners of the inaugural Kiwi-Indian Excellence Awards in Christchurch.

Winners of the inaugural Kiwi-Indian Excellence Awards in Christchurch. Photo: Joy Kochakkan

A round-up of community activities from across the country:

Inaugural Kiwi-Indian Excellence Awards held in Christchurch

The Canterbury Punjabi Association organised the inaugural Kiwi-Indian Excellence Awards in Christchurch on 16 March.

The association believes the annual event will serve as a platform to celebrate the achievements of the Indian community in the South Island.

"This was a significant milestone in recognising the contributions of the Kiwi-Indian community to New Zealand's economy and society," said Narinder Singh, president of the association. "More so during the challenging times of the last few years where we have faced terror attacks and once-in-a-century pandemic."

The inaugural winners include Thomas Shaji Kurian (Kiwi-Indian Excellence award), Canterbury Indian Tamil Association (Rising Star), Indian Social and Cultural Club, Christchurch (Legendary Community), Service Foods (Business Tycoon), Jalsa Fiji Radio (Media Legend), Gurudwara Singh Sabha Christchurch (Legendary Achievement) and the late Ishwar Ganda (Lifetime Achievement).

The first ever female president of the Auckland Indian Association Pushpa Lekinwala.

Auckland Indian Association president Pushpa Lekinwala Photo: Supplied

Auckland Indian Association elects its first-ever female president in 100 years

Puspa Lekinwala was elected the first-ever female president of the Auckland Indian Association in the organisation's annual general meeting on 24 March. The organisation was established in 1921.

Before her elevation, Lekinwala served as the association's vice-president. She has also served one of the largest Indian community organisations in the country in various capacities over the years.

A member of the association's inaugural hockey team, she is also an active member of Mahila Samaj, the organisation's women's wing.

Harmandeep Singh (North Harbour) will be representing New Zealand in the Men’s 35 World Cup in Cape Town.

Harmandeep Singh (North Harbour) will represent New Zealand in the Men's 35 World Cup in Cape Town. Photo: Supplied

Kiwi Indians to represent New Zealand in Hockey Masters World Cup

Hockey New Zealand has announced the teams to represent the country at the Masters World Cups that will be held in Cape Town and North Harbour later this year, with several Indian New Zealanders named in the line-ups.

Notable inclusions are Harmandeep Singh (North Harbour) in the Men's 35s, Priyesh Bhana (North Harbour) and Vijay Soma (Wellington) in the Men's 40, Rajesh Patel (North Harbour) and Nitin Ullal (Auckland) in the Men's 65s, Aleesha Nana (Auckland) in the Women's 35s, and Sara Daji (Auckland) in the Women's 40s. All of them will compete in Cape Town in October.

Pakistan Day celebrated in Auckland

The Pakistan Association of New Zealand organised Pakistan National Day and Ramadan Iftar dinner on 24 March at Auckland's Fickling Convention Centre. The celebrations included a cake-cutting ceremony, the hoisting of a Pakistan national flag and a few presentations by the children showcasing Pakistan's history and culture.

Pakistan National Day is observed on March 23 each year, as the Lahore Resolution was adopted by the Muslim League on this day in 1940 that formally called for an independent state for India's Muslims.

Christchurch Hindu temple land consecration ceremony held

Indian High Commissioner Neeta Bhushan on 2 March laid down the first bricks of the upcoming Christchurch Hindu Temple and Culture Centre. The temple land consecration ceremony was attended by hundreds of devotees, who were treated to mahaprasad later.

Aiming to be the largest Hindu temple in the South Island, it will house several Hindu gods, including Ganesha, Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Hanuman, Ram, Muruga and Mari Amman.

The idol of main deity of the temple, Lord Anbu Vinayagar (Ganesh), was sculpted from a single mountain rock in India and shipped to New Zealand. It weighs 3500 kilogrammes and measures 1½ metres in height.

The temple premises will have a culture centre in which cultural and religious celebrations and marriages will be hosted.

Sports round-up from across the country

The fourth season of the Telugu Premier League Cricket concluded, with Criczone Challengers winning the final by defeating Telugu Leader Red. Asher Bagadam won the man of the match, and Kiran Ahir was named player of the tournament.

The New Zealand Gujarati Sports and Cultural Association organised the 2024 edition of its annual football tournament in March, with teams Starduz and United winning the premier division and super premier division, respectively.

The Supreme Sikh Society organised its 36th annual sports event, the Holla Mohalla Cup, on the weekend of 16 and 17 March, with players competing in kabaddi, football, volleyball, basketball and netball.

The main attraction was the participation of international kabaddi players from India and Pakistan, with Auckland's Kalgidhar Sports Club lifting the trophy.

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