Defying the gloom and weariness that is refusing to subside after four long months of strict lockdown and the impending Omicron-scare at New Zealand borders, several hundreds of community members thronged at the Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand’s annual Sikh Children’s Day event held at Takanini Gurudwara.

Held on Monday and Tuesday (January 3rd and 4th) at the beginning of the new year, just a few days after Auckland was moved into Orange Light (under the current traffic light system) removing any number restrictions, the event organisers had a collective urge to bring the community together at the earliest and offer them the much elusive chance to have fun and enjoy celebrations.

And backing their belief, the community also thronged in big numbers, including from distant places like Hamilton, Tauranga, Papamoa and Hamilton, to take part in this annual event which witnesses several indoor and outdoor activities, including sports, religious recitals (reciting Gurbani, kirtan), gatka, dastar-bandi, poetry, speech, Sikh art display and essay writing.

Speaking to the Indian Weekender, Daljit Singh, the spokesperson of Supreme Sikh Society of NZ said, “Our organising team had an absolute clarity about the sense of jadedness within our communities after having lived in isolation for such a prolonged period and therefore were committed to go ahead with the annual event and bring as many families as possible together in the Gurudwara precinct.”

“The event is an opportunity for our children and youths to remain connected with their roots and enhance their understandings about the values of Sikh religion in a fun-filled manner,” Singh said.

The annual event is conceived as an opportunity to bring the children, youth, and families together along with educating and bringing them closer to their culture and replenishing their knowledge about the teachings and values of the Sikh religion.

The event had over 700 entries of participants from the ages of 3 to 19 years who came from all over New Zealand, with several activities held across the sprawling NZ Sikh Sports Complex.

One of the star attractions of the day, which witnessed massive interest from children, were the two toy trains organised for the children of the Child Choice Kindergarten and the Sikh Heritage School with a capacity of 20 children.

The toy trains will remain on the premises and children from the wider community would be welcome to come and enjoy at suitable times.

Notedly, the Sikh heritage school (situated in the Gurudwara complex) has 575 enrolments, with classes taking place every Saturday from 2-5 p.m.

President and Chairperson of the Sikh Heritage School Mandeep Kaur Minhas and Manjinder Singh told the Indian Weekender that the school was growing despite all hurdles and restrictions coming their way because of lockdown.

The school has 25 qualified teachers with expertise in Punabji, Gurbani, and Music and children ranging from 3 – 19 years.

Expressing satisfaction on the successful participation of the community members at the event, Daljit Singh said, “It was great to see families turning out in huge numbers along with their children keeping behind all their anxieties and concerns that we all are forced to live in the current environment of the pandemic.”