Central Districts Indian Association (CDIA) formerly known as the Manawatu-Hawke’s Bay Indian Association (MHBIA), was first set up in 1945 until its name change in 1999.  

CDIA has been promoting Indian culture and religious events in Manawatu for many years. Our organisation is highly active with our membership on the increase. Today the majority of our members are based in Palmerston North and also from the surrounding towns of Feilding, Marton, Dannevirke, Woodville, and Wanganui.

Our Association has regular committee meetings (every two months) and regular newsletters are sent to our members, the major Indian Associations throughout New Zealand, politicians, the Palmerston North City Council, and even as far afield as India, Canada, UK, Australia and Fiji informing them of CDIA’s past, current and upcoming events.

The CDIA Committee is the backbone of our Association.  Our committee this year is: Anita Naran (President); Nanubhai (Paul) Patel QSM (Vice President); Santi Budhia (Secretary) Dhirubhai Ranchhod (Treasurer) and Madhu Patel, Ranjita Sengupta, SurekhaRavji, KanubhaiRavji, Mahendra Naran, Suneal Singh (committee members). The youth members are Asmita Naran, Sanjay Patel, Kavish Desai

Meetings are held regularly to discuss affairs of our Association and decisions that this committee makes eventuates into newsletters, functions and events. These meetings are vital to the running of CDIA’s affairs as the committee members are strongly committed to making each event a success.

I must say when I took up this position I did wonder if I would be accepted by the community as the President as I was the first female President of CDIA, but I was proven wrong as the support from everyone has been overwhelming. Although some members have not taken up positions on the committee they are willing to assist where needed and this support and commitment is what drives our Association and makes the workload lighter.

CDIA has a number of religious and social functions during the year. Over the years, as Diwali has become a prominent New Zealand-wide festival, CDIA felt that this event needed to be exposed to the wider public of our region. Consequently, CDIA coordinated this function so that it is now more easily accessible to the general public. The big advantage has been that CDIA has brought together a variety of ethnic groups. With an ever-increasing interest that has been shown by the greater Palmerston North and the Manawatu region, CDIA is envisaging to celebrate Diwali in The Square in Palmerston North next year which will hopefully raise the profile to what we are seeing currently in the larger metropolitan areas. The Palmertson North City Council is very supportive of this initiative and will be working closely with the local Indian groups to make this a success in 2019.

CDIA has hosted five New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) Annual Conferences: 1954, 1968, 1989, 2004 and 2011. At the last one the past Governor General Anand Satyanand was our Chief Guest. CDIA has confirmed with NZICA that CDIA will be hosting the 2020 NZICA Annual Conference in the same year that it will be celebrating its 75th Jubilee, an event members are looking forward to.

In the local Palmerston North community, CDIA has been an affiliated member of the Manawatu Multicultural Centre (MMC) for over 20 years and is one of the longest serving member groups, joining in 1995.  MMC is also affiliated to the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils Inc.

CDIA’S achievements for 2018

CDIA life membership awarded

CDIA awarded Nanubhai (Paul) Patel QSM, CDIA Life Membership at our 2018 AGM. Nanubhai Patel has served our local Indian community with dedication and commitment over the past 35 years. Under Nanubhai’s leadership, the Central Districts Indian Association has been recognised within our local community and throughout the Indian communities of New Zealand which led to him receiving the QSM in 2010. The vote was unanimous and this award is befitting of a person who has put his own time and energy into our Association.

World on Stage

In June a group of younger girls from our community performed at the World on Stage concert. This concert was very enjoyable with items from different cultures. Our girls’ item was enjoyed by everyone and they performed brilliantly. We would like to say thank you to all the members who attended and also to everyone who helped organise the item representing CDIA. A special thank you to the girls who performed. We know you all spend a lot of time practising and it hasn't gone unnoticed.

Navratri 2018

CDIA held Navratri over nine nights and we were pleased to see the big numbers that attended each day. It is great to see the Indian community come together, with both members and non-members turning out. On the last night, mahaprasad was provided by members of the CDIA community which was well-received. A big thank you to those who attended Navratri, hosted evenings by way of donations for hall hireage, made garlands, helped set up the hall, sound system and cleaned up at the end. The help received from everyone was overwhelming and is appreciated.

Diwali 2018

CDIA hosted Diwali 2018 show on Saturday 10th November. There was an extremely good turn-out from both CDIA members and members of the public. No door sales were available on the night as all tickets had been sold. The programme consisted of colourful dances and performances with both traditional and modern Indian dances. The evening finished off with a full Indian vegetarian meal and was enjoyed by all.


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We are now planning our activities for 2019 and once again expecting a very busy year which will lead into 2020, CDIA’s 75th Anniversary. The focus is to have involvement from our younger members and also newer members on our committee with new ideas which will be beneficial for our Association.  

CDIA wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.