The Wellington chapter of Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ), in its commitment to fostering cultural understanding, universal fellowship and veneration of womanhood, partook in two remarkable events in the lead up to Hindu Heritage Month.
The celebrations of Raksha Bandhan held at the High Commission of India, Wellington, on 2nd September 2023 and at Multifest at St. James Anglican Church in Lower Hutt on 23rd September 2023, were a testament to the organisation’s dedication to bringing communities closer together and fostering social cohesion.
Hindu Council of New Zealand and its divisions, including Hindu Youth New Zealand, New Zealand Hindu Students Forum, had several activities in September, including Raksha Bandhan, DharmaFest, and Raas Rangeela, ramping up efforts for the upcoming Hindu Heritage Month in October.
Raksha Bandhan at High Commission of India, Wellington (2nd September 2023)
Hindu Council of New Zealand organised the Raksha Bandhan Festival – Universal Fellowship and Veneration of Womanhood, in collaboration with the High Commission of India, Wellington, New Zealand.
The dignitaries gracing the occasion included Shri Durga Dass representing the High Commission of India; Hon. Chris Bishop, Member of Parliament; Koro Vaka’uta, Lead Advisor to the Race Relations Commissioner; Senior Sergeant Kannan Alagappan, New Zealand Police. The occasion was further elevated by the attendance of Indian Naval Officers from the visiting INS Sahyadri.
Guests were greeted with the traditional Tilak and Aarti and received a heart-warming “Rakhi-Gift” containing mithai (sweets) wrapped up with a Rakhi (a thread bracelet), symbolising the bond of protection and love. Rakhi was tied to the community’s front-line workers, such as health care and other public service providers, as a token of gratitude for their contributions to society and the community.
The day and its events were hosted by 14-year-old Akshara Ravi, who did an exceptional job. A video explaining the background and significance of Raksha Bandhan, created by the talented 12-year-old member Daksh Choubey, was presented to the audience. The engagement of young Hindus in bringing the community together was acknowledged by all the participants at the event.
“The event was a great success this year. The public had a better understanding of Raksha Bandhan, and the health theme with stalls was very informative,” said Mrs. Vijeshni Rattan, President of HCNZ Central region.
One of the stallholders sent in a thank you email noting, “Not only was it educational for me in learning of another beautiful tradition regarding the connectedness that unites us (and by the way, I am still wearing my bracelet in recognition of that!); but it was also such a lovely occasion of bringing people together. I look forward to future ways in which we might collaborate and promote both the wellbeing of those with Indian heritage in Aotearoa as well as celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of Indian Culture.”
During the day, attendees were given an opportunity to tie the Rakhi they received to another member of the community, strengthening the bonds between everyone present. The event featured captivating performances, including Bharatanatyam, Carnatic singing by children, Yakshagana from Karnataka, and a medley of folk dances from Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. Raksha Bandhan stall holders and participating children were honoured with certificates of appreciation. The participants enjoyed the amazing food at the event.
Multifest at St. James Anglican Church, Lower Hutt (23rd September 2023)
The Hindu Council of New Zealand continued its effort of fostering community bonds at the Multifest event, held at St. James Anglican Church in Lower Hutt on September 23, 2023. This event, held in collaboration with the Hutt Multicultural Council, showcased both councils’ long-standing commitment to celebrating diversity and unity.
During Multifest, the audience had the opportunity to learn about Raksha Bandhan from HCNZ and its significance through an informative video presentation. Attendees were encouraged to tie rachis to each other, embracing the spirit of universal fellowship and veneration of womanhood. Rakhis were also tied to distinguished personalities, including His Worship Campbell Barry, Lower Hutt Mayor; Pancha Narayanan of Multicultural New Zealand and Reverend Annette of St. James Anglican Church.
The Hindu Council of New Zealand’s members personally handcrafted the rakhis and shared them with stallholders, performers, and attendees, spreading the joy of Raksha Bandhan to everyone present. The event featured a delightful stall offering activities such as Rangoli, card making, and rakhi crafting. A mehndi stall and samosas added to the festive atmosphere.
All the participants appreciated the Hindu Council of New Zealand for sharing about the concept of Raksha Bandhan, and it’s significance.
“Multifest was a melting pot of diverse cultures including Peruvian, Filipino, Irish, Chinese, African, Malaysian, and many more who were eager to receive the lovingly made Rakhis and be blessed with the Tika and Aarti – they said this made them feel very special!” said Dr Kiran Thakrar, one of the organisers.
Both events were a resounding success, leaving a lasting impression on attendees and reinforcing the Hindu Council of New Zealand’s commitment to building social cohesion and strong communities.
The continued engagement from the Hindu Council of New Zealand with the wider society is a testament and a commitment to promote the values of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, the World is one family. Promoting the values of love, cohesion, and unity among all members of society.
About the Hindu Council of New Zealand
The Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) is an organisation that has been serving the New Zealand community for over 25 years, inspiring a dynamic, vibrant Hindu society inspired by Hindu Dharma and the ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The World Is One Family).
If you would like to learn more about our activities, please connect with us on