Auckland Malayali Samajam Inc. has chosen a new team to lead the community organisation and conduct its activities for the year 2021-22.

The organisation for the Malayali community living in New Zealand has been in existence for just over two decades, and a new team takes over its operations for the community elected at its Annual General Meeting every year.

The current team’s selection was made through a panel that was chosen by the latest AGM held late last year.

At the AGM, a panel was formed comprising of members Yeldos Pukkennel Varghese, Maneesh Joseph and Biju Surendran. The panel and presiding officer Sujith Thomas led the process of constituting the new committee.

Mr Soby Bernand Thomas has been elected as the new president of AMS, supported by Allen Joy as the vice-president.

Soby Bernard earlier served as the Secretary of the organisation before being elected to the president’s position.

“Auckland Malayali Samajam has been serving our wider Auckland community for last 22 years. With the generational shift happening in our community members over this period, our focus now is to empower our student, youth, women members in this year,” president of AMS Joby Bernard told The Indian Weekender.

Dr Abin Mathew and Kavitha Raj were elected as Secretary and Joint Secretary respectively, Thomas Puthukayil as Treasurer, Dr Sam Mathai, Joby Kunnath, Raneesha Faizal, Sangeetha Krishnakumar, and Sambhu Sreekumar as Executive Committee members.

Subhash Regunathan, Jithin Mohan, Sonia Ritto, Lenine Abraham and Arati Ravindran-Vetal were elected as Area Representatives.

“We look after organising festivals that are celebrated in Kerala, India, such as Onam, Easter, Vishu, Good Friday, Christmas and more on an annual basis,” Dr Abin Mathew, Secretary at AMS, told the Indian Weekender.

“Besides festivals, we also organise sporting events, tournaments, cultural evenings, youth-led programmes and women empowering events for the Malayali community living in Auckland,” he added.

The organisation also conducts community-led initiatives such as blood donation camps, help support migrant community members having issues and host events bringing the community together.

“2020 was indeed the toughest year for the community as we ended up cancelling our important cultural events including Onam due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“We will be leading our community to support in every possible front to get their voices heard in socio-cultural fabric of Aotearoa New Zealand.

“We will be working closely with Ministry of Ethnic affairs, Indian High Commission, wider Indian/Malayali Diaspora organizations & community groups to get our initiatives underway,” Mr Bernard said.