More than 2800 people were in for a spectacular display of lights, culture, and diversity at Feilding’s First Diwali celebrations last Saturday (November 4).
Attendees were taken by surprise as they saw hundreds of people thronging Feilding Civic Centre to attend the Festival of Lights celebrations in Feilding, a charming town with a small Indian population.
Joy and excitement gripped the attendees as the town’s first Diwali celebrations were dubbed a “spectacular success”.
Feilding resident Andrea McKenzie said, “It is one of the best multicultural shows I have ever seen in Feilding. A spectacular success. It has truly added more colours to this beautiful town.”
11-year-old Feilding resident Vrinda, said Feilding Diwali had children from across Manawatū and Rangitīkei coming to display their talent on stage.
Vrinda, who performed a traditional dance form of the Indian state of Gujarat, said, “I can’t wait for it to take place next year. Thank you for a platform to show my culture to my Kiwi friends.”
Performers of all ages, genders and cultural backgrounds – including Māori, Indians, Scottish, Latin America and Japan – rocked the stage with zestful and lively performances.
Hato Pāora College’s Director of Boarding Aaron Morrison said, “It was a fantastic event with a big turn out of people from diverse communities. I think the boys were really happy performing here.”
A group of boys from Hato Pāora College and Catholic Maori Boys Boarding School performed Waiata and Haka.
Organised by Rotary Club of Feilding Oroua and Bhartiya Samaj Wellington-Manawatū Charitable Trust, the Festival of Lights was attended dignitaries including Manawatū District Council Mayor Helen Worboys, and Ministry for Ethnic Communities’ Deputy Chief Executive, Strategic Engagement and Partnerships Arthur Chin.
Rotary Club of Feilding Oroua’s Co-President William Leipnik said, "Personally, I feel this was a magnificent way to show the excitement and potential for working together with all the cultures in our community. Our first Diwali is just the starting point!"
Manawatū District Council Mayor Helen Worboys said, “The fantastic response from our community was overwhelming – being a first-time event we had hoped for good support but the numbers of people who did turned up blew us away. Clearly shows the desire for our community to celebrate our diversity. The level of varied entertainment items was amazing and of high standard. A great way to celebrate together!”
Senior volunteers and leaders from Rotary Club of Feilding Oroua and Bhartiya Samaj Wellington-Manawatū Charitable Trust also attended the event.
Bhartiya Samaj Wellington-Manawatū Charitable Trust’s chairperson Jeet Suchdev, who started the charity’s parent wing in Auckland 28 years ago, said, “For us, every day is Diwali. We believe in bringing light into people’s life every day, every crucial moment if their lives. We serve people from zero to zero [ages] and bring a ‘positive change’ in the lives of Aotearoa’s diverse communities to empower people to become strong, confident and in control of their lives.”
Bhartiya Samaj Wellington-Manawatū Charitable Trust’s President Rishi Sharma said, “Every diya or a lamp has a role to play. It lights up a dark corner even if it is for a moment. This is what Diwali has taught me. I request you to be a light in someone’s life. I request you to make a pledge to make a difference.”
The festival saw a range of food stalls, art including Heena and face painting for children, and a spectacular Laser Show outside Feilding Civic Centre.
The participants took home a lot of joy, memories and a diya (lamp) as a blessing.
Our proud supporters and sponsors were Manawatū District Council, Central Lakes Trust, Domino’s Pizza Feilding, Domino’s Pizza Levin, WoodnHome, Volt Electricals, North Street Save Mart, Bocote Interiors Ltd and The Parakeets.