The Auckland Diwali Festival scheduled for the end of October 2021, has been officially cancelled due to Covid-19.

Indian Weekender has been a long standing sponsor of this festival and shares the disappointment of our readers and participants, of this major festival, on the Indian calendar.

The decision was made following the Government’s announcement on 20 September that Auckland will be in Alert Level 3 until 5 October.

The two day Diwali celebrations in the middle of Auckland CBD, when the Queen Street also gets temporarily shut to vehicular traffic is hugely popular among Auckland's 250,000-strong Indian population.

As per estimates, over 50,000 people attend this festival, which ends with a literal bang, as fireworks display from the Sky City tower is the grand finale.

Such large scale celebrations further cement the multicultural ambitions of Auckland and New Zealand, as many non Indians throng this two day festival.

This is a lost opportunity to showcase the diverse cultures and cuisines of India.

The organiser, Auckland Unlimited, said the festival slated for the end of October could not go ahead until the city was in alert level 1.

It now plans to organise some online activities instead.

Mayor Phil Goff said it was disappointing but understandable.

Hon Consul of India, Bhav Dhillon expressed his disappointment and said this is the new normal we have to deal with in a Covid world. He further acknowledged all the hard work that has already gone into organising the event and offered a word of solace for all the organisers as well as the stage participants, as this is the second year in a row the event has been cancelled. He urged everyone to get vacinated sooner, as that would go a long way in keeping our communities safer.

On this ocassion a special stamp has been released by NZ Post and the detailed story can be read here NZ POST CELEBRATING DIWALI WITH FOUR NEW STAMPS

Online celebration:

While we always hoped to be able to hold a full festival, we also prepared for this scenario by developing an alternative that will help Aucklanders to celebrate Diwali through entertaining and educational content online at Aucklandnz.com/Diwali and landmarks lighting up for the Festival of Lights. Further details about this will be shared in mid-October, commented one of the Auckland Council senior officials.