The Auckland Indian Association on Saturday, December 14, hosted its first of many centennial celebrations with around 600 donors, committee members, guests and community leaders.

The Auckland Indian Association Inc. (AIAI) was established in 1920 with Chhotubhai Patel as the first President. Meetings were held in members’ garages to discuss matters of the community’s interest and concerns such as discrimination and immigration.

The Association then purchased a property at 156 Victoria Street West in about 1936 with three houses, which were rented out until the Association was in the position to build the Gandhi Hall in 1955.

“The association has moved from strength to strength since its inception in 1920 and achieved many milestones,” President of AIAI Narendra Bhana told The Indian Weekender.

“The venue looked magnificent on the day as the evening commenced with the lighting of Diya and Master of ceremony Puspaben Lekinwala providing a brief history of the AIAI and acknowledging donor member’s valuable contribution to the organisation,” Mr Bhana added.

Present at the event as guests were Mt Roskill MP Michel Wood, National Party MP Dr Parmjeet Parmar, NZICA President Paul Patel, Jeet Suchdev from Bhartiya Samaj and other guests.

At the event, three Kiwi Indians were awarded as Life Members for Auckland Indian Association. The Association announced Sureshbhai Kanji, Dhirubhai M Patel and Bhanuben Daji as the newly appointed Life Members of AIAI, a prestigious position offered to the dedicated members of the organisation for their prolonged hard work and commitment.

The event also announced seven Merit Certificate Holders at the event who were felicitated with a certificate from guests Michael Wood, Paul Patel and Dr Parmjeet Parmar at the event. Jivanbhai Morar, Maganbhai Nanu, Damyantiben Govind, Niruben Bhana, Chimanbhai M Patel, Navnitbhai Patel and Babubhai Bala were named as the seven Merit Certificate Holders for their valued contribution to the organisation.

Honours Committee Chairman Harshadbhai K Patel extended his hearty congratulations to newly appointed Life Members and Merit Certificate holders for the prestigious recognitions.

Centenary celebration committee Chairman Kanu Patel outlined the organisation’s plan to celebrate the event in September 2020. The celebration will consist of Katha over 5-7 days, exhibitions, various subcommittee events and a Gala Dinner.

“We are proud of the organisation’s progress over the last 100 years; it is now up to the future generation to provide vision, direction and leadership to develop world-class facilities for the next 100 years,” Centennial Celebration Committee Chairman Kanu Patel told The Indian Weekender.

“The atmosphere of the event was really uplifting, and members are excited about celebrating Centennial festivity in September 2020,” Mr Bhana said.