One of the oldest community language schools, running for over 28 years now, managed to pull together its annual day, despite this being a strange and challenging year.

The completely voluntary-run Wellington Hindi School, surviving on a shoestring of resources, had most of its language classes over zoom this year. Although in normal circumstances, it has face-to-face classes in three locations across the Wellington region: Wellington City, Lower Hutt City and Newlands.

The annual day was attended by High Commissioner of India Muktesh Pardeshi, Second Secretary Fiji High Commission, Josua Tuwere and various other community leaders, including representations from Hamilton and Auckland.  

Mr Pardeshi reminded the audience about the importance of learning languages and its relevance to identity and culture. He also reiterated the significance of collective voice for policy changes and state support of including community languages in New Zealand’s education curriculum.

Mr Tuwere said that the well-established and successful Wellington Hindi School inspired the local Fijian community to recently start a Fijian language school in Wellington.

The audience was quite flabbergasted by the level of performances the teachers, students and parents of Wellington Hindi School assembled for their annual day. The successes were rewarded by certificates and awards. This included honouring Sunita Narayan for her 25 years of selfless service to Hindi language development in New Zealand and abroad.

“Although I had taught Hindi in Fiji, these 25 years in New Zealand have been a time of continuous reflection, learning, innovation and growth,” said Mrs Narayan. Student eagerness inspires Mrs Narayan every day.

While today’s schools and workplaces are encouraging their people to share their languages and cultures with their colleagues, there are opportunities for more.

“We must together create an ecosystem that offers natural ways of weaving the colourful Aotearoa tapestry,” Mrs Narayan proudly expressed.

Chairperson of Wellington Hindi School, Kashmir Kaur, said the attendance, performances, awards and support for the school reaffirm their dedication to continuing with the good work.

“Huge commitments from parents, teachers, students and board members go into running voluntary organisations like this,” Mrs Kaur reiterated. “But we have that massive responsibility of raising tomorrow’s leaders, even if it takes a village, so we can’t drop the ball”.