New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) – the Kiwi-Indian community’s oldest and the main community organization – is aiming for an ambitious “thought transformation,” as manifested in its 93rd Annual General Meeting held in Wellington (AGM) on Saturday, April 13.
The one-day long conference had brought together over 120 delegates from various chapters of the parent body from all over the country to delve upon how they want to steer their organizations in the near future.
Themed as “Vichar Parivartan” – the NZICA conference engaged with several thought-provoking topics such as “building organizational capacity,” “IT management for non-profit organisations, “role of media an community,” “youth engagement,” “retaining mother-tongue and culture,” which were followed by an enthralling question and answer session.
Speaking to the Indian Weekender, Manisha Morar, one of the executive committee members closely involved in the organisation of the two-day event said, “There have been growing sentiments within our organisation that a complete overhaul of the vision and how we connect with the broader Indian community was long due.”
“Toward this goal, we have been thinking for quite some time to induce a change in the way we think collectively of ourselves and how we connect with other stakeholders,” Mrs Morar said.
The conference began with a customary welcome address by President Bhiku Bhana and followed by a felicitation of the outgoing High Commissioner of India, Sanjiv Kohli and former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand.
Sir Anand Satyanand became only the fourth person to be conferred with the Honorary Membership by NZICA after Late Prime Minister David Lange, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir William Birch.
Both the speeches by Mr Kohli and Sir Anand were emotionally charged, taking audiences in steep memory lane and their respective association with NZICA and the broader Kiwi-Indian community.
Earlier, the conference started with a setting scene speech by the Director, Office of Ethnic Communities, Anita Balakrishnan, who spoke about the challenges ahead for New Zealand after the recent terror attack and how her office is committed to supporting ethnic communities.
Some of the many highlights of the conference were to create a floor for open dialogue and new ideas to engage more with the Kiwi-Indian community of different sub-Indian communities living in New Zealand.
“While culture retention, language and traditions stilled play an eminent role in the foundation of ethnic community organisations, in this conference we explored non-traditional conventions of capacity development,” a post-event media release by NZICA read.
“The theme echoed throughout the many speakers lined up for the day, the main goal being building capacity and sustainability to grass root ethnic community organisations. The conference was free to participants,” the press release said.
NZICA also presented Community Service Awards to selected members of different Indian community organisations from across NZ and Merit Certificates to three members for attending 15 Annual Conferences of NZICA.
The Conference also held the elections of the office bearers and a new team announced for 2019-20.
New President and executive committee team
This year NZICA will be led by Paul Patel from the Central Districts Indian Association as the President taking the baton from Bhikhu Bhana who remains as an officer in the role of Immediate Past President.
Prakash Biradar from Auckland Indian Association Inc. was elected as Vice President, Manisha Morar from Wellington Indian Association as General Secretary, Taruna Bhana from WIA as Assistant Secretary, and Hansa Naran from Manukau Indian Association as the Treasurer.
A team of ten members was also elected as Chairpersons of various subcommittees to investigate the affairs of Indians in New Zealand such as International Students Welfare, Welfare for Senior Citizens, Law and order, Women’s Committee, Youth Committee etc.
The NZICA was established in 1926 by three Indian Associations namely Auckland, Wellington and Country Section to advance the cause of all Indians, be it educational, health, welfare or cultural identity.