The Kiwi-Indian community and New Zealanders from different walks of life gathered together in Wellington on Wednesday, October 2, to celebrate the momentous occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi – the man who showed the world the power of truth and non-violence.
Gandhi’s birth anniversary is also celebrated as International Day of Non-violence.
There were two main functions organised in the capital city to commemorate Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
Both these events were organised in close cooperation with the Indian High Commission in New Zealand.
In the first event, the Indian High Commission joined Wellington City Council and Ekta New Zealand Inc in presenting 150 blankets and bedsheets to Taranaki Street Night Shelter to mark the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Present on the occasion were High Commissioner of India Muktesh Pardeshi, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, and the officials from the Indian High Commission, Jeykumar Doss, Head of Chancery, and Paramjeet Singh, Second Secretary.
The second event was hosted in front of the iconic Gandhi statue in front of Wellington Central Railway Station.
The celebrations included the lighting of candles, singing of Hindi hymns and hanging of garlands around the neck of Gandhi’s statue.
The statue was gifted to the city in 2007 by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations on behalf of the Indian people and stands in the forecourt of the Wellington Railway Station.
Speaking to The Indian Weekender High Commissioner of India Muktesh Pardeshi said, "The presence and the enthusiasm of the people from all walks of life in both these events today underline the relevance of Gandhi Ji's philosophy and values".
"This year we are celebrating Gandhi Ji's 150th birth anniversary all around the world. Earlier last week we were privileged to have New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern deliver a keynote address at a commemorative event hosted by the Indian PM in the United Nations extolling the Gandhian values and philosophy"
Mr Pardeshi also conveyed the common aspiration of people of India and Gandhi lovers from all over the world to Wellington City Council to upgrade the park in front of the Wellington Railway Station to be named Gandhi Peace Park or Gandhi Square as appropriate.
Notably, in the lead up to the celebrations of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, earlier last year Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff had released a special commemorative stamp of Gandhi in New Zealand at the official inauguration ceremony of Auckland Diwali Festival.
The stamp on Gandhi was released in the presence of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa and the Hon Consul of India Bhav Dhillon.