If there is one thing that binds all immigrants who have come to New Zealand from India, it has to be the solid cultural ethos of our motherland, India. All around the year, various festivals and cultural activities are celebrated with enthusiasm across India. But when one comes to NZ, they miss all that and feel a void. And that is where various cultural Indian associations play an essential role in preserving our Indian culture abroad.

In this ninth part of our series on cultural Indian associations in New Zealand, we feature the Telangana Association of New Zealand (TANZ), the largest registered member charity organisation established in NZ for Telangana Telugu speaking people, which has a current membership of around 5000. It is not surprising that Telugu speaking people are the third-largest population of all the Indian communities in New Zealand, with about 50,000 people spread all around NZ.

As far as its history is concerned, TANZ came into being in 2015. TANZ President Narender Reddy Patlola says, “In 2014, after the declaration of Telangana as the 29th state of India, people belonging to Telangana in NZ decided to establish a separate community organisation, and that's how TANZ started on 2nd October 2015. The main idea was to spread Telangana culture and to help people of the community who are facing any kind of difficulties across NZ.”

Though TANZ does not operate any separate wings outside Auckland, it has registered community members spread around the country who share a strong bond with TANZ by participating in events and celebrations. It strives to celebrate, preserve and showcase the rich culture and heritage of Telangana.

“The organisation is committed to bringing local communities closer to Telangana while at the same time endeavouring to contribute to the progress of Telangana state and its citizens. While bridging the NRI community and Telangana, TANZ will also be a platform to initiate change, empowerment, and transformation in the region. As a Non-Profit cultural organisation with a thriving and rapidly expanding member base, TANZ will seek to inspire, serve and strengthen local communities in both NZ and Telangana,” explains Patlola.

TANZ regularly organises community events such as festivals, sports events, community blood donation camps, planting trees and social activities for the benefit of students, women, new immigrants, and people who are facing financial issues in their businesses. But Patlola acknowledges that, like any other organisation, they need more funds to carry out social activities for the welfare of people. 

Patlola maintains that it is vital to have cultural organisations in the Kiwi-Indian community in NZ. “Cultural Indian organisations like ours play an indispensable role in our Indian Kiwi society as we need to pass our culture and our way of life to future generations,” says Patlola, adding, “The best of our culture is showcased to other societies, and that helps them to understand the diversity of our culture and also to imbibe the positive features of our culture.”

The association is planning various events in the coming months, including Telangana formation day in June, holding workshops to support new migrants and students, and sports and fitness activities.

Lastly, about TANZ's plans, Patlola reveals, “We want to continue doing work relentlessly for the benefit of the people and to conduct more awareness among people of other communities about Telangana way of life, support local communities and spread the importance of unity in diversity. We want to spread our heritage, encourage budding talent, and pass on our values to the next generations.”