The Kiwi-Indian community and New Zealanders from different walks of life gathered together in Wellington on Monday, October 2, to celebrate the 148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi – the man who showed the world the power of truth and non-violence.

Gandhi’s birth anniversary is also celebrated as International Day of Non-violence.

There were two main functions organised in the capital city to commemorate Gandhi’s birth anniversary.

Both these events were organised in close cooperation with the Indian High Commission to New Zealand.

In the first event, Wellington City Council and the Mahatma Gandhi Commemoration Committee co-hosted an event to mark the International Day of Non-Violence and the birthday of India’s ‘Father of the Nation’ in front of Gandhi statue at Wellington Central Railway Station.  

The celebrations included the lighting of candles, singing of Hindi hymns and hanging of garlands around the neck of Gandhi’s statue.

The statue was gifted to the city in 2007 by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations on behalf of the Indian people and stands in the forecourt of the Wellington Railway Station.

Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand, Sanjiv Kohli, Kiwi-Indian MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon and the chair of the Commemoration Committee, Shree Naginbhai (Neil) G. Patel were present on occasion.

The second event was opening of an exhibition A Glimpse into the life of Mahatma Gandhi created by Indian students at Massey University, Wellington Campus, in collaboration with NZ Peace Foundation and Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) New Zealand.

The GOPIO is an international non-charitable organisation that is aimed at promoting the welfare and increasing collaboration between people of Indian origin across the globe.

The exhibition was opened at 15:30 hours at the Library of Massey University, Wallace Street, Wellington and will remain open for general public from October 3 to October 14.

Later, speaking with The Indian Weekender, Indian High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli emphasised on the charisma and pull of the Gandhi's personality and ideas all around the world. 

"Both these events underlined the continuing relevance of Gandhi Ji's ideas and message to the people all around the world. 

"The fact that his message continues to capture popular imagination of people around the world in such a major way even after 148 years after his birth proves that Gandhi Ji can never be confined to a particular geography or to an era," Mr Kohli concluded.