Featuring music, dance, fashion and food from several cultures around Asia, Pan Asia New Year Celebrations 2023 were held at New Zealand Parliament on April 3.
The event saw dance performances from countries of South Asia and Southeast Asia including Myanmar and Thailand, and different states of India including Karnataka, Punjab, Gujarat and Kerala, along with a unique fashion show fostering cultural pride. Minister of transport, immigration and Auckland Michael Wood says, “My warmest greeting to the communities and mother tongues of people of South Asia and Southeast Asia who are here to [celebrate and take part in their new year celebrations].” MP Vanushi Walters says such a festival can only be organised in a “diverse” and “multicultural” country like New Zealand. Communities Action Trust New Zealand’s (CATNZ's) Founder Murali Kumar says the purpose of such events is to ensure social cohesion and reflect cultural diversity South Asian and Southeast Asian communities bring to New Zealand. “We received a phenomenal response this time with diverse communities taking part in the event as performers and attendees. It has truly become an event that brings together wider Indian communities, and other communities of South Asia and Southeast Asia.” “This event lets us enjoy the unity and celebrate the diversity New Zealand has.” Calling it one-of-its-kind festivals celebrated at the Parliament, Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust’s Founder and Chairperson Jeet Suchdev says, “Earlier, we used to celebrate a pan India new year event. However, we decided to expand the event to many South Asian and Southeast Asian communities as they celebrate their new year at the same time.” “If we open our arms, the whole world is ours. This is a true New Zealand way of life as it is a multicultural country.”
Organised by Communities Action Trust New Zealand (CATNZ) and Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust, the celebrations go a long way in building Aotearoa as an equitable society and as a nation where people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds are included.