Waitakere Diwali: The Unique Event that heralds the comeback of Mayor Len Brown
Thakur Ranjit Singh
The spirit of Waitakere Diwali 2014 West Auckland heralds the return of Mayor Len Brown, as the Chief Guest, who will be accorded all the honours a city father and a city head gets and deserves. It is hoped he is forgiven and once again can continue in his job in minding the affairs of the city.
The unique and exceptional Waitakere Diwali will be held at the House of Diwali, The Trusts Stadium, Central Park Drive, Henderson on Saturday 18 December, 2014 from 11 am to 10.30 pm, culminating in a spectacular fire-works display. Entry and parking are free. All welcome to attend, where Auckland Mayor Len Brown is the Chief Guest.
|The Official poster for WAITAKERE DIWALI 2014,at TRUSTS STADIUM ON 18 OCTOBER, 2014.|
If Auckland Council wishes to use a community organisation “owning” an event, and working in partnership with it to bring festivities in a particular region, in a cost-effective fashion - then Waitakere Diwali fits that bill.
With funding from Auckland Council or its related arms, and sponsors, Waitakere Indian Association (WIA) has been lighting West Auckland for over a decade, where Auckland Council or its predecessor, Waitakere City Council, did not have to directly get involved in Diwali of West Auckland for over a decade. This is because a community organisation, WIA has been efficiently and effectively organising this event annually, with 100 per cent volunteers.
This is where the uniqueness of Waitakere Diwali comes in. This would be one of the very few Diwali celebration of its size where the actual community and those who feel passionately about the festival actually run and manage this function. As Diwali is basically a Hindu cum Indian festival, these are the people who are in the driver’s seat, managing and organising the whole event. In fact the President of Manukau Indian Association, Veer Khar has eluded to the fact that festivals and events which belongs to a particular community should be empowered by Council and funding agencies to run it. He said “The problem is that democratic institutions formed by community in each city are being pushed aside by individual owned trusts. “ He further said that Diwali had become a cash cow and seeing the potential, more and more groups are being formed every year to milk money from the occasion.
The community needs to resist these events being commercialised by those corporate, tin-pot trusts and business organisations whose interests are in promotion, marketing, publicity, public relations and generating revenue. That is exactly the difference in Waitakere Diwali, where the theme is to unite the community, inculcate an atmosphere of diversity and raise awareness of the actual essence of Diwali. This year’s theme is “unity in diversity.”
The second uniqueness of Waitakere Diwali is that the House of Diwali, The Trusts Stadium, happens to be the largest indoor Diwali Festival in New Zealand, hence, it is weather-proof.
A very significant uniqueness is that unlike other festivals around Auckland, WIA’s community-based organisation is fully-run by volunteers. Unlike other corporate or council organised Diwali events, WIA does not have any paid officials managing this event. In Council events, people on six-figure salary may be the paid officials to organise something that Waitakere is blessed free by its community-based organisers.
|Part of Waitakere Indian Association (WIA) team which organised the very successful and theme-oriented event. This year's theme is : UNITY IN DIVERSITY. None of them are paid officials-all are volunteers who have passion towards their community.|
As a community organisation, WIA is appreciative of religious, cultural, traditional decorum, demeanour and sensitivity of the event. Hence WIA ensures that tradition of Diwali theme will not erode under this community-organised event. Reports have been received from various Diwali events of dancers shaking their bums, half naked performing under the name of Diwali. Waitakere Diwali has strict rules about dress code and other issues safeguarding sanctity and reverence of Diwali.
The final uniqueness is related with West being the best. After the controversy that Mayor Len Brown was embroiled in recently, it is very befitting that an Indian organisation has invited Mayor to officiate as Chief Guest in a solemn festival that, among other things, celebrate overcoming of evil by good deeds, lighting the inner self and embracing all in a forgiving mode of brotherhood. It is significant, that the original writer of the Hindu epic Ramayan was Ratnakar Dacoit, a Daku, a common robber, who saw the light, repented, changed a leaf in life, embraced goodness and was forgiven. And he ended up writing this holy epic, Ramayan.
In a similar spirit, Diwali 2014 in Waitakere heralds the return of Mayor Len Brown, as the Chief Guest, who will be accorded all the honours a city father and a city head gets and deserves. It is hoped he is forgiven and once again can continue in his job in minding the affairs of the city, without being a victim of a well-organised conspiracy. (KIWI PUNDIT (www.kiwipundit.blogspot.co.nz) will cover this issue under separate cover.)
In this spirit of goodwill and forgiveness, all are invited to Waitakere Diwali at Trusts Stadium, the largest indoor Diwali in Australasia, organised by volunteers working free for the community, where the event is organised by the community for all people of New Zealand. Apart from authentic food and craft stalls, the highlights are indoor cricket, Caribbean Steel Band and non-Indian students of Waitakere College, speaking about Diwali. The other highlight includes Ram Lila, tales of Lord Ram, leading to the reason for Diwali. As usual, there would also be assortment of cultural and Bollywood items that will keep you and your family busy and occupied.
|The team from ISKCON in their traditional costumes in our past Waitakere Diwali, added the flavour to the solemn theme and sanctity of Diwali (unfortunately, generally missing from commercialized Diwali events.)|
Remember, Waitakere Diwali at Trusts Stadium, Central Park Drive, Henderson, Auckland on Saturday 18 October, 2014 from 11am to 10.30 pm, culminating in spectacular fireworks display. All free and all welcome to an event, organised by the community for the community.
Waitakere Diwali on Saturday 18 October, 2014.
[About the Author: Thakur Ranjit Singh is a scholar in media and journalism, with post-graduate honours in communication studies. He runs two blog sites, FIJI PUNDIT and KIWI PUNDIT, which give an ethnic slant of stories which a predominantly White Main Stream media is unable to deliver. Stories published here are those that are not covered by other commercial or Indian media]