As it has done for 21 years in a row, Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust hosted it’s Independence Day celebrations on the 71st anniversary of India’s freedom this week. Held at the Shirdi Sai Temple Hall in Onehunga on Sunday, August 13, the event attracted more than 800 people.

The event's popularity is growing every year: community members, community leaders, children, senior citizens and members of Parliament graced the Sunday morning event.

The morning commenced with the hoisting of the Indian national flag inside the hall by Justice of Peace Ami Chand, Trustee for Pacific Events and Entertainment Trust followed by the Indian national anthem.

As is customary, the national anthem was followed by a dhol musical performance, and Indian patriotic songs that brought the audience and the dignitaries running to the dance floor and shake a leg.

“This open dance floor for the audience and the dignitaries is something rare to see. You never see public, the MPs and the Mayor dancing to Indian patriotic music. This is something I will cherish all my life,” said a senior member of the community at the event.

The cultural performance had children as young as five dancing on the stage led by their mentors. Seniors at the event gave some astounding performances that wowed the audience.

The groups that delivered the performances were Bhartiya Samaj senior citizens, Bollywood Beats Academy, Bhartiya Samaj Bal Vikas School, Bollywood Bhangra Group, Mt. Roskill Community Centre Bollywood dance group,  Chotte Sikke, NZ Kannada Koota,Auckland Marathi Association,Probasse Bengali Cultural Group, Punjabi Cultural Association,Creation group, Garba by Gujarati Samaj NZ, BAPS Swami Narayan, Senior Purshottam Merai Ji,  Women Care Trust and Dr Nilima Upadhyay patriotic group.

“I congratulate the Indian community in New Zealand on this occasion of India’s 71st birthday. It’s a day to rejoice and celebrate in the community,” Mayor of Auckland City Phil Goff told The Indian Weekender at the event venue.