Community leaders Paul Chunilal Patel and Ratilal Champaneri have been among the Kiwi Indians honoured by a Queen’s Service Medal at the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Mr Patel has dedicated well over half his life in serving the Indian Community both locally and nationally and has been instrumental in raising the profile of Indians in greater Manawatu area.
Nanubhai, as he is known in the greater Indian community and more commonly as Paul amongst majority of his acquaintances, has brought about considerable changes including raising the identity of the Indian Community around the local area in the last thirty years.
His passion, interest and dedication to the local Indian community together with his organisational skills have concentrated on his sporting and community cultural interests.
His sporting interest associated him with the NZ Indian Sports Association (NZISA) and his cultural interest associated him with the NZ Indian Central Association (NZICA).
He currently is the representing member of the CDIA on the Manawatu Multicultural Council. His contribution to the Executive of the MMC is seen to be very valuable and again was approached to take on the role of President of the MMC, which he has declined. He has had tremendous support from his wife, Madhu and two daughters Nikita and Umesha throughout the years.
“I feel proud to have received the honour as a Kiwi Indian and am grateful for the co-operation and love I have received from the community,” Mr Patel told Indian Weekender.
Speaking from his Wellington home Mr Champaneri told Indian Weekender, “It is indeed a very great privilege to be a recipient of the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to the Indian Community. I greatly appreciate it and am very proud of it.
“I have gained not just knowledge and skills but I have gained the opportunity to serve the Indian Community, I have had many new experiences, met new friends, and taken up new interests. My experiences have left me with a sense of gratitude, and above all a sense of responsibility for the wider world.”
Mr Champaneri has been serving the Wellington Indian Association since 1978 in various senior positions including Vice President, General Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer and The Board of Trustees.
He has also been a President, Vice President, General Secretary and Auditor of the New Zealand Indian Central Association. Recently he has had an active part in assisting with the publication of the book “Indian Settlers.”