The morning of Saturday, June 22 saw members of Bhartiya Samaj Senior Citizen attending its annual recognizance event of the Elder Abuse Awareness Day and Aotearoa’s Matariki celebrations held at Senior Citizens meeting at Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall.

More than 200 members, dignitaries, and volunteers were brought together yet again by Bhartiya Samaj under a common cause and celebration.

The day started with the traditional rituals of Bhartiya Samaj meetings followed by an addressby Chairperson of Bhartiya Samaj, Jeet Suchdev and all the other dignitaries on recognizing Elder Abuse Awareness Day, as they highlighted the importance of recognizing the many different ways in which our elders suffer from abuse, be it mental, physical, emotional or even at times financial, and taking concrete steps at addressing the problems our elders face in our societies.

The dignitaries emphasized on the importance of coming forward to organizations such as Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust and the local organizations or the police when faced with abusive and harassment situations, and how one should definitely take a stand in such cases against the abuse.

The Bhartiya Samaj Team made the event more interactive and engaging by putting together a video montage of how the organisation aims to spread happiness amongst the elders of our community, whom we so love and cherish, through its various celebrations, events, and visits to shelter homes with lively & fun activities.

A short film on Elder Abuse awareness was also played, which got the audience emotional and teary-eyed, with regard to how our loved ones suffer at our own hands and such cases lead to regret later on. A small compilation of what our seniors say about Elder Abuse was also shown in which they shared their own insights and experiences.

Matariki is the Maori celebration of a New Year, celebrated on the first new moon after the appearance of the Matariki star. This was the first time in the history of Aotearoa that Indian senior citizen ladies performed a traditional Maori Poi dance for Matariki celebrations, with a zeal and zest that was soundly appreciated and applauded by all in attendance. The performance was enacted after weeks of dedicated practice by our senior ladies under a Maori instructor, and their enthusiasm made us all proud - commemorating the Matariki celebrations like our own.

The event concluded with a more socially aware audience and a celebratory note in the air – appreciating the local Maori culture and feeling united in diversity, and lovely, positive chatter about the discussed issues ensued over a scrumptious lunch arranged by Bhartiya Samaj. We are very grateful to our volunteers and beloved members, without whose dedication and efforts this event could not have been such a success.