The New High Commissioner of India Muktesh Pardeshi ticked almost all the key boxes that currently drive the New Zealand – India bilateral relationship by meeting with key stakeholders of community and businesses in the Waikato region.

Mr Pardeshi was in Hamilton on Wednesday, August 21, as the Chief Guest of a ceremony held to launch the Indian IT-giant HCL Technologies’ new delivery centre in the country (read the full story here).

However, he decided to expand the scope of his visit by connecting with the members of Kiwi-Indian community, prominent religious centres, and most importantly visit the Te Rapa manufacturing factory of the global dairy-giant Fonterra.

Speaking to the Indian Weekender about this day-long foray into the country’s fastest-growing urban centre, Mr Pardeshi expressed excitement and satisfaction on what he was able to achieve in his day-long visit.

“In Hamilton, I was able to meet with some Kiwi-Indian families who have been in the country for more than five-six generations. I felt deeply connected with them,” Mr Pardeshi said. 

“They came to New Zealand some 100 years ago, overcame all kind of difficulties and made New Zealand their home. It is really heartening to see how they had preserved their language and culture. In the process they have also hugely contributed to the development of the Waikato region and added to the growth of a multicultural society in New Zealand,” Mr Pardeshi said.

Subsequently, Mr Pardeshi visited the local Sikh-Gurudwara where members of the community hosted him over traditional tea, where he was apprised of the community’s aspirations and expectations from the office of the Indian High Commission. The Hamilton Gurudwara holds the unique recognition of being the first Indian religious centre in New Zealand.  

Mr Pardeshi, who was also accompanied with Hon Consul of India in Auckland, Waikato and Northland region Bhav Dhillon assured the members of the community of all support from the office of the Indian High Commission and the Consulate of India.

Subsequently, Mr Pardeshi visited the Te Rapa factory of Fonterra, which is a big story of cooperation between New Zealand and India with this global dairy giant’s second entry into the Indian market earlier last year with a joint venture with India’s largest consumer companies – Future Group.

“New Zealand is known globally for its strength in the dairy sector. Therefore, a visit to Fonterra was beneficial. We can learn from them, especially on the technology side,” Mr Pardeshi told the Indian Weekender.

On his way back, Mr Pardeshi also visited a Kiwi-Indian owned biggest, automated-dairy farm in the Waikato region (with more than 1000 cows), getting a firsthand experience of Kiwi ingenuity and advancement in the dairy sector.

During the evening, Mr Pardeshi was hosted for a community dinner reception by the Waikato countryside chapter of New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) – the country’s oldest Indian community association.

“In all it was a great visit to the mighty Waikato region, connecting with key stakeholders of mutual bilateral relations between our two countries,” Mr Pardeshi said.