More than 20,000 people are expected to flock to the festival of light- Waitākere Diwali this October.
Members of the community from diverse backgrounds and faiths are invited to The Trusts Arena for the popular event, which starts at 11 am and ends with an extravagant fireworks display at 9.45 pm. The Henderson event is being organised by the Waitākere Indian Association (WIA), the first Indian community organisation believed to celebrate Diwali publicly in 2000.
The Trusts, which support a variety of organisations and events each year, are thrilled to sponsor this year’s Waitākere Diwali held on 29 October. “We are proud to be associated with such an awesome event in The West,” Allan Pollard, CEO of The Trusts says. “The Trusts embraces the cultural diversity of its community and Diwali is a wonderful way to experience Indian culture.”
WIA Secretary Sanjay Sharma says the executive committee is extremely grateful for the funding support of a historic event “which proudly started in The West 23 years ago. Having such a prominent West Auckland organisation come on board and support us makes us feel immensely happy,” he says. “With the help of The Trusts, we are able to keep running Diwali Mela (festival) at a time when community-funded events on a large scale are becoming increasingly difficult to hold. Having The Trusts onboard also showcases how great West Auckland is as a place and community to live in, making events like this possible.”
Diwali is a festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe. The overarching meaning is to celebrate light over darkness and good over evil which is why Diwali is also dubbed the festival of lights, Sanjay says. “It serves as a unifying force, bringing together communities and collaborating with over 20 community groups as well as various ethnic and religious organisations...”
Local rangatahi will showcase their talents through cultural dances at the arena on Central Park Drive. The event will support local businesses, charities and artisans which will be selling Indian cuisine, arts and crafts. Also planned are a high school dance contest as well as rangoli and short film competitions.
Rangoli is a type of coloured sand art that represents the happiness, positivity and liveliness of a household and is intended to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good luck. The short film contest will focus on what Diwali means to people and how they have celebrated it over the years.
At 5.30 pm, Ram Leela, a dramatic folk re-enactment, will portray the tale from which Diwali evolved. It centres on the story of Lord Ram who in Hinduism returned from exile with his wife Sita after defeating the Demon King Ravana.
Performances from all parts of India will entertain people during the cultural hour at 6 pm.
A major highlight of the celebration is the much-loved pyrotechnics display “which has gained a reputation as one of the best in the community,” he says. “Year after year our amazing pyrotechnician Dr Van Tiel continues to deliver a colourful and extravagant display showcasing what Diwali is all about, Light over Darkness. With the support of The Trusts, we can continue to deliver a high standard no cost-compromised display for the community.”