Auckland Mayor Phil Goff on Thursday, January 18, visited the Shri Kalgidhar Sahib Gurudwara in Takanini to witness the progress of the plantation project started by the gurudwara last year.

In August 2017, the Takanini gurudwara started a community garden initiative in collaboration with the Healthy Families Manukau and Manurewa-Papakura and Old School Teaching Gardens to sow new plantations in the gurudwara premises that will enable the growth of fresh vegetables and fruits by the community.

The then Prime Minister Bill English had visited the gurudwara on Friday, August 4, 2017, to commence plantations in the garden.

This garden initiative has enabled the gurudwara to engage the volunteers and the local community in growing fresh garden fruits to be served at the gurudwara and given back to the larger community.

Mayor Phil Goff took a tour of the garden and was briefed about the plantation process at the garden and how it has been helping the local community. 

The gurudwara gardens produce Italian tomatoes, corn, chillies, sprouts, home-grown tomatoes, spring onions and also has different winter and summer plantations.

The gurudwara has also been able to skillfully reduce the waste produced in the gurudwara kitchen and utilise the waste most efficiently. The waste is put into a pit in the garden that later gets converted into compost and can be used as a key ingredient in organic farming.

Mr Goff commended this community initiative of the gurudwara and lauded the efforts made by the local community members to make this project a success.

“It's fantastic to see the land being used productively and efforts put by the local community here. I would encourage community members if they have a spare patch in their home to grow some of their own vegetables, it’s a great thing to do and gives a lot of satisfaction,” Mayor Goff told The Indian Weekender.

Mr Goff then visited the library of the gurudwara and was briefed on the upcoming projects of the temple.

The Mayor was shown the Rumala Sahib – the holy cloth that is offered to Guru Granth Sahib ji. The Rumala Sahib once offered to Guru Granth Sahib cannot be used in any other place and has to be disposed of appropriately, in this case by burning.

To put it to a better use, women from Cook Island community had, a few months ago, offered to use the Rumala Sahib at their Marae and up-cycle the holy cloth by redesigning them and putting them in the Marae as curtains etc.

A representative from the Cook Islands community showcased the Mayor how they were up-cycling the Rumala Sahib presented to them by the Supreme Sikh Society and offered him a souvenir of an up-cycled Rumala Sahib framed for the Marae.

The Takanini Gurudwara is the biggest Sikh temple in New Zealand and is managed by Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand. The parent body has also started a youth wing in July 2017 to get the young Sikh-Kiwis get more involved with their religion and culture.