The newly-formed subsidiary of the New Zealand Telugu Association in Waikato/Hamilton hosted its first event of the year on Sunday, January 14.

The association hosted Sankranti, one of the biggest festivals in the Indian community.

More than 150 people turned up for the event that was held at the Phoenix Hall in Hamilton. The highlight of the event was the enthusiasm of the growing Telugu community in the region who came with their family and friends to the event.

The women participated in the Rangoli competition which is one of the integral parts of the celebration. Since it’s the festival of the farmers as they celebrate their first harvest of the year, the host featured the venue in an Indian village theme.

Other highlights of the event were the cultural performances such as dance, skits and singing performed by the talented young members of the community and kite flying.

The Hamilton wing of the Telugu Association was formed at the 20th year celebrations and Annual General Meeting of NZTA held on Monday, January 1, responding to the need of a local committee to oversee the activities of the community.

“The NZTA Hamilton committee is constantly striving to generate interest among the Telugu people about their rich culture resulting in more such events in Hamilton,” newly appointed president of Telugu Association-Hamilton Branch Sudhamsh Damara told The Indian Weekender.

“We are pleased to announce that the first big event as Telugu Association – Hamilton Branch was a huge success,” Mr Damara added.

The Hamilton Branch of Telugu Association has a committee of 14 members that includes the president, two vice presidents, general secretary, joint treasurer, joint secretary and six executive members.

The New Zealand Telugu Association based in Auckland is the parent body and will oversee all the activities of the Hamilton Branch of the association. Aruna Bhoompelli is appointed as the new president of NZTA parent body based in Auckland and is also the first woman president of the Association since its formation in 1998.