BHARTIYA SAMAJ MILESTONES AND ACTIVITIES AUGUST 2016- JULY 2017
Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust has honoured its commitment as a charitable institution in supporting and bringing together people of Indian origin living in New Zealand simplifying things to foster friendly relations among each other and meeting their Social, Cultural and Emotional needs.
The activities of Bhartiya Samaj are well recognised and have been enthusiastically appreciated by the wider Indian community, which is rewarding for us. On this auspicious occasion of 71sth Independence day on 15th August 2017, we hereby present to our readers the events that were held during year 2016-2017 on the way towards achieving the desired end results of benefitting the people of our community.
AUGUST 2016: 70TH Independence Day Celebrations
Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust along with Roopa Aur Aap Charitable Trust, Humm Fm, Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan, and other organisations from many states of India, and neighboring countries celebrated the 70th India Independence Day at Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan Community Hall with much unparallel zest and galore.
The celebrations started with the hoisting of the Indian Tri-color flag by Mr Vinod Kumar, President NZ Hindu Council; followed with the national anthem of India, and New Zealand by our Bal Vikas (BSCT language and cultural classes) children, and the Bharat Mata image portrayed by Simran Chadha from Bollywood Beats. Furthermore, the trumpet of beginning began with the sound of Desi Dhol, exhilarating our hearts and feet dancing to celebrate the 70 years of Independence.
The cultural event started with the enticing performances by the performers from various organisations, reflecting the diverse and rich culture of India with great passion and splendor.
Hundreds thronged through the venue to behold the myriad spectacle of young and equally talented senior citizens, showcasing their potentiality to enliven the celebration with vibrancy, peace, prosperity, and progress. South Asian community has been actively taking part in every sphere of activities to make New Zealand an outstanding country with vivacious multicultural people living harmoniously.
The celebrations concluded with the community lunch served to everyone present. We sincerely thank everyone for their contribution in this event which carried love to our motherland with a feeling of Independence. Highly appreciable were the efforts of participating organisations, performers, sponsors, volunteers and community at large that feverishly supported us to make this event a grand success.
SEPTEMBER 2016: Hon Mrs Sumitra Mahajan’s Visit to NZ
Speaker of the Lower House Hon Mrs. Sumitra Mahajan and her accompanying Parliamentary Delegation arrived in New Zealand for an official visit. On 17TH September 2016, High Commissioner of India to NZ H.E. Mr Sanjiv Kohli hosted a reception in her honor at Langham Hotel. It was a privilege and honor for Bhartiya Samaj and Roopa Aur Aap to be representing in the prestigious event.
OCTOBER 2016: International Day Of Older Persons
International Day of Older persons was celebrated on 1st Oct 2016 with excitement and fun-filled meeting of the seniors which also witnessed active participation from the seniors performing Garba (a traditional Indian folk dance) dressed in the traditional attire.The event was also graced by the presence of dignitaries like Dr Parmajeet Parmar (MP for Mt. Roskill), Mr Michael Wood ( Candidate for MP from Labour Party – Mt. Roskill ) and Mr Dev Bhardwaj (Puketapapa Local Board Candidate). All the members and the invited dignitaries danced to the tune of the Indian traditional music.
The celebrations commenced with the prayers as a tradition of all the Bhartiya Samaj meetings followed by the birthday wishes for the members whose birthdays were falling in the current month.
Event also witnessed some real singing talent from our members who with full zeal participated and exhibited their singing and dancing talent. Members dressed traditionally performed Garba which turned the environment vibrant. Garba performance was also significant as it was performed during the Navratri (a mythological auspicious period). Bhartiya Samaj also extended a platform to budding talent, Ms Sonia, who with her singing talent mesmerized the gathering.
After an exhaustive and highly participative dance performance, all the members feasted on a delicious lunch organized by the Bhartiya Samaj. The event was yet another milestone achieved by Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust in their efforts to bring the community together with the establishment and sustenance of the special bonding between the members resulting in the formation of a strengthened community.
OCTOBER 2016: Diwali Celebrations
Members of Bhartiya Samaj celebrated the Diwali Festival on 15th Oct 2016 at Fickling Convention Centre, Three Kings. Diwali as a festival needs no introduction to the Indian community as is one of the biggest festival celebrated in India and by Indians across the globe.
The celebration witnessed all the members dressed traditionally with high participation willingness. It was studded with games, mehndi ( henna ) and nail paintings being some of the highlights to mention. It was totally a festive mood evident with the members singing and dancing to the best of their abilities. Members also got sweets to be distributed among the fellow members to mark the festivities followed by the delicious meal servings…. Another round of fabulous memories to take home!
In Auckland Diwali was celebrated at many places. Thousands attended this significant Indian festival but we at Bhartiya Samaj and Roopa Aur Aap celebrated in a different way. Since Rest Home residents are unable to attend these big events due to health issues, we took Diwali to them at David Lange Care Home (Ashirwaad) ON 29TH OCTOBER 2016 to entertain and make them feel included.
On 23rd Oct 2016, Bal Vikas Language and Cultural School celebrated the festival enthusiastically. All the students came traditionally dressed and also brought sweets and other delicacies to be shared among the fellow students. The day started with watching video clips on the mythological relevance of Diwali followed by questions and answer session. Also a short movie on Ramayana was also shown to the children they participated in some craft work themed on Diwali followed by snacks and sweet sharing.
NOVEMBER 2016: Annual Trip to Rotorua
In the midst of that run of rainy weather early November this year, we found a few clear days to take our Senior Citizens out for a Fun Trip to Rotorua. After carefully planning for months, a memorable three-day trip from 12th Nov to 14th Nov 2016 was organized by Bhartiya Samaj Charitable trust for its Senior Citizens to explore the beauty of Rotorua along with Tauranga.
We started the memorable journey with two busloads of Senior Citizens along with a team of Volunteers from Mt Roskill War Memorial. Taking a break at Gurudwara Sri Kalgidhar Sahib, Takanini Auckland we set forth on our journey to Rotorua and reached the hotel by afternoon. The hotel arrangement was done at VR Rotorua Lake Resort, which is located on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotoiti. Hotel.
The itinerary was very well planned that started with a visit to the “Government Lawns of Rotorua” to get over the travel fatigue. The next day the members had an opportunity to experience and explore the 100-year- old Redwood forest from “Redwood Tree walk and the steaming, hissing and bubbling geothermal activity and exciting views of mud pools at “Kuirau Park”. On the final day, we drove to Tauranga that lies along the edge of a beautiful harbour and stopped to watch a spectacular view of Mount Maunganui. From there we drove to “Karangahake Gorge” to relax and admire the beauty of the natural sights of the gorge. Each evening was thoughtfully planned where the members let themselves relax and showed some real singing and dancing talent. On the second day, a “Maori Cultural Performance” was arranged for our members, which gave them an opportunity to experience a vibrant glimpse of Māori culture in an engaging performance followed by a spine-tingling version of the world-famous haka and Poi dance.
All the meals were prepared in-house by our team of volunteers. The relentless efforts of our volunteers and organizing team resulted in giving lifetime memories of this memorable trip which was yet another milestone achieved by Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust.
NOVEMBER 2016: Indian Naval Ship Sumitra Visits NZ
The Indian Naval ship INS Sumitra arrived in New Zealand for a six day visit for International Naval Review from 16th Nov 2016-22nd Nov. On 20th November 2016, a reception was hosted by Indian High Commissioner His Excellency Sanjiv Kohli and Vice Admiral HCS Bisht on board of Indian Naval Ship. It was a privilege and honour for Bhartiya Samaj to be representing in the prestigious event.
DECEMBER 2016: End of the Year/Christmas Party
Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust carried on the age-old tradition of celebrating the end of the year by organizing a “Christmas and End of the Year Party” on 17th December 2016 at Mt Roskill War Memorial hall, Auckland. Our Seniors thronged to the venue excitedly all dressed up in vibrant colors to celebrate the occasion. This fun-filled afternoon marked the presence of over 200 Senior citizens and the gracious presence of many eminent guests and dignitaries who have made tremendous contributions to benefit the society.
Entertainment programs, delicious cuisine, live music and the dance floor were the main attractions of this event. A stunning dance performance was put up by our senior members Sr Madhubhai Patel and Mrs Sadguna Patel to entertain the guest which was appreciated by one and everybody present there. The melodious voice of eminent singer Jagdish Punja Ji singing old-time Bollywood songs permeated the entire atmosphere, which uplifted the moods of our senior members who then danced to the foot tapping beats of the music. Our delegates merrily joined them. The celebrations concluded with a delicious lunch served to everyone present.
The stupendous success of the event was a result of undefinable and indefatigable contribution and love of the volunteers, organisers, performers and the community that feverishly supported us to make this event a grand success and help achieve yet another milestone for Bhartiya Samaj. The electrifying atmosphere was overflowing with words of deep gratitude and admiration for making the day memorable.
Mr Jeet Suchdev QSM concluded the event by wishing everybody a very happy Christmas and a healthy new year. At the end he exchanged heartfelt greetings and thanked one and all to be a part of our Bhartiya Samaj family in New Zealand.
Bal Vikas Language and the cultural school also celebrated the end of the year Party on Sunday 11th December! Fun filled party was organised where children arrived excitedly and brought gifts for the age old Christmas tradition of “Secret Santa”. The party kick started with the kids playing some fun games and dancing to the tunes of their favorite songs. It became a true celebration for the kids who have grown into a cohesive team. After the games, they turned to having delicious Pizzas which they enjoyed a lot. Lastly, the most exciting part of the celebration “ Secret Santa” started with kids getting their gifts which they hurriedly opened and shared the joy of Christmas. At the end, they took photos and went home filled with cherished memories.
JANUARY 2017: Annual Children and Youth Summer Camp
Bhartiya Samaj’s Annual Children and Youth Summer Camp, a five-day programme from January 9th till 13th for children aged 6 to 14 years has gained immense popularity amongst the Indian community for the past 15 years. The number has been increasing every year with 107 students enrolled this year in the camp. Twenty-five volunteers/teachers devoted their time and energy to support/organise various workshops and activities.
The children were divided into different age groups and the activities allocated to them were monitored by one or more volunteer teachers. The workshops were well planned and designed aimed to promote emotional development and enrichment of the young minds. The focus was on imparting skills like personality development, leadership, community involvement and tolerance/understanding of multiple culture and ethnicity at an early age through various activities like outdoor sports, art and craft sessions, music, dance, drama workshops, debate, extempore, public speaking and other fun filled activities. It also helped the children open up about their aspirations and dreams and learn about their hidden talents. Some special workshops included “Dare to Explore” workshop by Auckland Council, sports workshops conducted by Kelly sports, and “How to be safe” workshop by NZ.
The day also included regular nutrition breaks – morning breakfast that included milk, home cooked healthy lunch, fruit and evening snack.
The last day of the camp concluded by children going out for a picnic to West Lynn Garden.
Sincere efforts were made to make those five days’ fun and memorable for the children.
JANUARY 2017: 68th Republic Day celebrations
On 21st Jan 2017 Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust celebrated the 68th Indian Republic Day with fervour and pride at Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall, May Road, Mt Roskill. The event was attended by Senior members and many dignitaries all-proud to celebrate the achievements of our Golden Indian history.
The event commemorated a new season of Senior citizens’ fortnightly meetings, which was happily received and saw over 210 members renewing their membership with us.
The day began with the traditional prayers followed by welcome speeches by Mr Jeet Suchdev, Dr Bruce Hucker and Mr. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi .
The tricolour was hoisted, which was followed by the national anthem. The seniors continued the celebration by singing songs and recollecting some of their most vivid memories of the Republic Day celebrations back in India. This was followed by dance performances by our Annual summer camp children and melodious songs sung by our senior members.
The entire event concluded by putting on a delicious lunch served to all members and volunteers present at the occasion.
FEBRUARY 2017: “ANTARKHOJ” Ek Atma Manthan by Swami Narayan Sanstha
A live stage show event “Antarkhoj-Ek Atma Manthan” was organised by BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on 18th Feb 2017. More than 2,000 people gathered at Logan Campbell Centre, the aim was to bring the young generation closer to its cultural roots.
Bhartiya Samaj members had an opportunity to participate in this enlightening experience of Indian Heritage presented through cultural programs and multimedia presentations.. More than 120 members attended this program. Through the cultural play audience were given a very important message of how important it is to invest time to create bonding between parents and children so that they get an all-round education and they are kept safe.
Complimentary dinner was served to all present.
The event was well organised and a success and concluded with blessings gratefully received by our Chairperson Mr Jeet Suchdev from Swamiji. We would like to thank Swami Narayan Sanstha for giving us this opportunity to attend this program.
MARCH 2017: HOLI Celebrations
Bhartiya Samaj has a tradition of celebrating Holi each year and rolls it out at different locations for the convenience and enjoyment of the community.
The first celebration was held on March 13th at Flat Bush, South Auckland mainly for our Senior Citizens which was attended by 50 members. Celebrations started with showering colorful petals on one another and dancing to the tune of Holi Bollywood music. Few rounds of Tombola with lots of exciting prizes followed this. The meeting ended with a lunch served to everyone.
On Saturday, March 18th there was a whole day Holi Event titled “Colours in the Park HOLI 2017” at the 3 Kings Reserve which was organised by Bhartiya Samaj in association with Humm FM and the atmosphere was buzzing with music, fun, and frolic for all present. The event witnessed over 5000 people, a mix of the multicultural society of Auckland who all gathered to celebrate the festival of colors.
On the same day, we also had an event for our Senior Citizens as a day to get together to herald in the Holi Season with fun and gaiety at the 13 May Road, Mt. Roskill War Memorial Hall. This was very well attended with 200 members present. The seniors went outdoors and celebrated Holi by showering one another with colorful flower petals dancing and singing on Holi Bollywood music. The event ended with a lunch.
We also celebrated Holi at our “Bal Vikas Language & Cultural School’” on 5th March. The children were asked to bring in an old T-Shirt so that the kids could have fun painting and decorating the same. The celebration began by all of us singing our National Anthem and when the kids had settled we showed them an animated story depicting the meaning of the festival ‘HOLI’ this grabbed their interest and curiosity and they engaged asking questions and really getting into the significance of the celebration mainly because the kids varied in age and understanding abilities. They then got into decorating their T-Shirt and had fun doing it. Later we all went outdoors showering one another with flower petals as a symbolic gesture of sharing happiness and the start of new life and gaiety.
APRIL 2017: Bhartiya Samaj Commemorates ANZAC DAY
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in New Zealand and Australia to commemorate all New Zealanders who lost their lives at Gallipoli in World War 1 and also to honor the servicemen who returned from the war.
On 25th April 2017 ANZAC day was observed at Mt Roskill War Memorial. Mt Roskill Parade Service organized by Puketapapa Local Board was scheduled to start at 10:00am. People made their way to the venue just after 9:00 am for the start of the parade service. Boasting one of the largest commemorative gatherings in New Zealand, it was a proud moment to see so many people honoring their heroes.
For the first time our esteemed organization, Bhartiya Samaj got an opportunity to participate in the Parade Service. Many veterans and ex-servicemen wearing their medals, school groups, community groups, Bhartiya Samaj children and senior members marched towards the cenotaph at the war memorial. Wreaths were laid to pay tribute to the soldiers who had lost their lives in protecting the honor of their country. On behalf of entire Bhartiya Samaj and Roopa Aur aap family, it was a great honor for Mr Jeet Suchdev and Ms Roopa Suchdev to lay the wreath.
APRIL 2017: Protest March against Rising Crime
The crime prevention group- a community action group organized a public protest march on Sunday, 30th April at Manukau to send a message to the government on issue of rising crimes. Bhartiya Samaj Members supported the group by joining in big numbers and marched along with more than 500 people from different communities to show their concern towards increased aggravated robberies/crime. An appeal was made to find a practical solution to this severe problem.
MAY 2017: Sardarni Mann Kaur Ji’s Visit at Bhartiya Samaj
Gold Medallist Runner Sardarni Mann Kaur Ji, 101-year-old Indian Athlete, the oldest competitor at the World Masters Game visited Auckland In May 2017. At Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust, we had the honour of hosting Sardarni Mann Kaur ji and her son Gurdev Singh ji on 6th May 2017 at Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall during Senior Citizens Meeting.
Gurdev ji shed light on the journey of Mann Kaur ji, and credits her longevity to good food and exercise and advised one and everyone present there to introduce exercise in their daily lives. Sardarni Ji then addressed our seniors delivering some useful tips on healthy living. Afterwards Ella Kumar ji had a wonderful fitness session with the seniors and honored Guests. On behalf of the entire team of Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust, we would like to express our gratitude and a big thanks to to Ella Kumar ji for organising their presence at Bhartiya Samaj Seniors meet.
MAY 2017: Mother’s Day Celebrations at Bal Vikas Language and Cultural School
Mother’s Day is celebrated to honor all mothers and express gratitude for the hardships they bear in bringing up a child. To pay tribute to this wonderful creation of GOD, Children and youth wing of Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust celebrated Mother’s day on 14th May 2017 at Bal Vikas Language and Cultural Classes.
Nutrimetics beauty team was invited to deliver a “Pamper session” to the mums of our Bal Vikas Children. The consultants educated them by delivering some useful tips to look after their skins and also gave them a facial demo to pamper them on this special day. The mums were then presented with small gifts from Nutrimetics team, which they appreciated a lot. After this it was the children’s turn to pamper their mums by presenting a short speech to express their feelings and honour them after which they gave out their mums the handmade greeting cards which they had prepared for them.The event was a great success that ended with lots of laughter and cheerful feelings which every mother would remember for their lives. The day concluded with a morning tea served to all.
MAY 2017: District Commander’s visit at Bhartiya Samaj
It was an honour to have NZ Police, Auckland City District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus at our Senior Citizens meeting on 20th May at Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall for a meet and greet session. She was joined by Asian Liaison Officer Ms. Jessica Phuang and Eric Chuah of Cultural Connections.
Commander mingled with all the members in a very friendly way and also participated in the fitness session and enjoyed every moment of it. She then addressed our seniors delivering some useful tips on their safety and conveyed them a message that the Police is available for the community when in need, which entrusted the feeling of safety amongst our Senior Citizens. It was very positive and enlightened our people to approach the police when in need. Later, our senior members approached her with their questions and very patiently, she answered their queries to their satisfaction.
After this, there was an Antakshari competition between seniors, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the commander.
On behalf of the entire team of Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust, we would like to express our gratitude and a big thanks to Asian Liaison Officer Ms Jessica Phuang for organizing the commander’s visit.
MAY 2017: Roskill Decides Event
It was a great opportunity for Bhartiya Samaj to participate in “Roskill Decides Event” on 27th May at Fickling Convention Centre. We won $2000 in the Roskill Decides Funding Competition, where Mt Roskill residents voted ten best community Organisation’s projects for their great work in the community. The event was organised by Roskill Together and Auckland Council Puketapapa Local Board. Out of 18 Organisation participants, Bhartiya Samaj was awarded as a winner and was much appreciated by all for the great community cause. A stall was set up demonstrating our main festival Diwali and the children of Bhartiya Samaj presented a 3-minute drama on the stage depicting our rich cultural heritage associated with Diwali.
Sincere thanks to all who supported us.
JUNE 2017: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Elder abuse is a problem that exists all over the world yet is typically under reported globally. Therefore, it is very important to equip and educate people to identify and deal with this problem. Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust always strives to take steps towards making the life of seniors a more pleasurable one and giving them credit for the valuable contribution they make towards the development of society. With the same intentions, Bhartiya Samaj observed “World Elder Abuse Awareness day” on 17th June 2017 at Fickling Convention centre, Three kings.
The Programme witnessed an overwhelming gathering of over 200 + senior citizens members with enthusiastic participation spirits. The event was successful with the presence of many dignitaries who have been contributing towards making the society a better place. Some of the dignitaries present included MP for Mt Roskill Michael Wood, Puketapapa Local Board members David Holm, Ann Marie Coury, Ella Kumar and Shail Kaushal, Judge Dr Ajit Swaran Singh, National List MP Mahesh Bindra, District Commander of Auckland City Karyn Malthus, Police personnel from NZ police Constable Sukhvir Sen and Constable Yaolin Deng, Bhartiya Samaj Patrons Hon Dr Bruce Hucker and Dr Ashraf Choudhary, Bhartiya Samaj EC members Santanu Roy and Anil Vazirani.
The day commenced with prayers followed by wishing the senior members who had their birthdays this month. During the programme, issues of Elder Abuse were discussed at length while highlighting the different types and situations of abuse that the Elders have been experiencing. Also included were audio video presentation along with guests talk in order to deliver a better understanding of elder abuse and create awareness about the ways to deal with it and not just keep tolerating it. Our senior members presented a short skit highlighting a typical case of Psychological elder abuse in the family.
The celebrations concluded with the community lunch served to everyone present.
The event was a result of relentless efforts from team Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust and especially from Mr. Jeet Suchdev QSM JP and Ms. Roopa Suchdev QSM who have been working towards the cause for over two decades.
JUNE 2017: International Yoga Day
Yoga is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice and is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. The Language and Cultural School of Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust celebrated this ancient and holistic approach to health and well-being by organising International Yoga Day on 18th June 2017 at Bal Vikas Classes. Bhartiya Samaj also practices this art of healthy living at their Bal Vikas Classes every Sunday for children aged 6-14years.
The day commenced with educating the children about the benefits of performing yoga by our experienced teachers using audiovisual aids. This was followed by an interactive session where kids enthusiastically participated in. This was followed by Yoga expert Instructor/volunteer Mr Pradeep Chitale who demonstrated the Asanas in a fun manner and educated the children with importance and the positive effects of doing those asanas on the human body. We firmly believe that learning would be sustainable when it is accompanied with fun and if Children start practicing yoga at a young age, it becomes a part of their lives.
The event was a great success that ended with promises made by the young ones to practice yoga every day. The day concluded with a morning tea served to all.
JUNE 2017: Community Safety Patrol
On 21st June 2017 Bhartiya Samaj got an opportunity to participate in Community safety Patrol with Mt Roskill Police. It was an initiative to empower communities to prevent crime and create safer environments. Around 15 seniors volunteered to foot patrol on the Dominion road shops under the guidance of Constable Yaolin Deng. The volunteers approached the shop owners and educated them about ways to prevent crimes. The shop owners also shared their concerns, which were then addressed by us to the NZ police. Thanks to NZ police for involving us in this great community work.