The Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) Wellington Chapter celebrated International Volunteers Day on Saturday, December 2, 2017, at Naenae Community Hall in Lower Hutt, Wellington.

The International Volunteers Day is a United Nations-led initiative, celebrated on December 5 every year with the aim of honouring more than one billion volunteers around the world.

The theme for 2017 is “Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.”

It is an attempt to recognise volunteer efforts all around the world, along with paying tribute to the support volunteers provide in times of instability, disasters or humanitarian crises.

This year, the Hindu Council took the lead in the broader Wellington Indian community in bringing together a large number of people at a common platform to acknowledge the role of volunteers in our day to day lives.

The event was well attended by adults and children in the community despite it being a busy time of the year with the end-of-year functions and sports.

The guest of honour at the event was Elizabeth Young, National Strategic Ethnic Advisor, Maori, Pacific and Ethnic Services, New Zealand Police.

Ms Young shared the work that she does in New Zealand Police and had fun joining in with the activities.

The event had many games for everyone young and old - some traditional rural Indian games like Kabbadi, Kho-Kho, Bhajia and others were well known modern-day games.

More than a hundred adults and children participated in the event and were seen having a great time.

Vinod Kumar, the Auckland-based President of HCNZ, expressed his satisfaction and conveyed thanks to all volunteers who make the difference in day-to-day lives of average New Zealanders.

“No matter how developed a country is, without volunteers, it cannot function,” Mr Kumar told The Indian Weekender.

“Finally, the satisfaction one gets from giving is also the highest duty one can perform in his or her lifetime.

"Accordingly, although I must thank all our volunteers, one needs to be equally proud and be thankful to the almighty to give one and all the best life possible,” Mr Kumar further added.

In 2012, Hindu Council of New Zealand had been accorded a Special Consultative Status with United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Hindu Council of NZ is now a part of the Non-Governmental Organizations Branch of the United Nations.

Indeed, this is recognition for the work of HCNZ volunteers.

The members of the organising committee of the event, which included Kiran Thakar, Tribhuvan Shrestha, Arun Bhambra, Sumedha, Nidhi, Kush, Vijeshni, and Selva Ramasami, expressed satisfaction at the success of the event.

“It was a great opportunity to acknowledge volunteers in our community,” Mr Ramasami told The Indian Weekender.

The day ended with a picnic feast on the beautiful sun-drenched lawn with a mild cooling breeze on a stunning afternoon.