Hindu Niwas, a new initiative at the Hindu Heritage Centre, is “a home away from home” that provides accommodation to seniors, at-risk women and children, socio-economically deprived families, and respite for caregivers, international students and visitors to Auckland. It is equipped with 63 beds, with common kitchen facilities.

Swami Vigyananand inaugurated this facility in a traditional Hindu way in May. In July, Maori elder Matua Pomare and staff members from Te Wananga o Aotearoa (The University of New Zealand) blessed the facility and the land. Some years ago, Hindu Heritage Centre site used to be a Te Wananga campus.

Hindu Niwas works collaboratively with a wide range of Indian and other ethnic organisations to serve communities from a number of countries. It works with government service providers in social services and health sectors and is registered with Work & Income New Zealand (WINZ).

Hindu Niwas was designed to provide respite services to make life easier for people in support roles, like caregivers, i.e. those providing care for others with physical and mental disabilities and personal health and social problems.

“We aim to provide culturally appropriate and quality services so that the residents develop good social networks,” said Sneh Prasad, volunteer of Hindu Council of New Zealand who helped set up this project.

Some of the services provided at Hindu Niwas include:
Social work and family support services (supporting elders, assisting newcomers)
Youth, women, men, children and families at risk
Children and youth support services (developing leadership and life skills)
Health and wellbeing services (supporting healthy nutrition, physical activities and yoga)
Participation and organisation of community seminars, workshops and cultural activities

Yoga classes are conducted regularly at the centre by Aotearoa Research Organisation for Generic Yoga and Ayurveda (AROGYA), a division of Hindu Council of New Zealand.

These classes create opportunities for people to take a break from the daily routine stresses, and generate a change for physical, mental, and spiritual rejuvenation.

“We have residents with different ethnic backgrounds from various countries,” said Jairaj Chavan, volunteer manager of Hindu Niwas.

He added that this communal facility is run by a team of dedicated volunteers, with a clear vision to achieve the Hindu ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one big family), promoting universal human values and social co-existence.

For more information about Hindu Niwas, please contact hinduniwas@gmail.com