The New Zealand Telugu Association on Sunday, March 11 hosted a big Telugu New Year - Ugadi celebration - for the community at Avondale College Hall in Avondale.

More than 800 people gathered for the event that started at 3 p.m. with traditional activities from Telugu culture spiced up with other performances by the community members.

The event started with a traditional Ugadi pachadi drink made of Coconut, ripe banana, raw mango, jaggery, neem flower, salt, and red chilli powder. The significance of this drink is the numerous tastes such as sweet, sour, bitter, saltiness and spice that is mixed to make the drink like it is in life. Life is made up of everything; one has to face happiness, success, love, bitterness, hate and defeat equally.

The year 2018 has been quite significant for New Zealand Telugu Association as it has completed its 20 years of existence successfully. The community organisation has now a matured to a position which looks after the needs of the community and caters to best interests of the community.

“The celebration is not merely an entertainment platform, but it also brings the Telugu speaking community together as one big family,” Aruna Bhoompelly, the President of the Association said.

Aruna Bhoompelly is the first woman President of the Association in the twenty years of its existence.
“NZTA has grown and developed strength to strength over the years and pledges to serve the community as one- looking after the people in need.

“Although, a political decision taken a few years ago has created two separate states for Telugu speaking people in India viz. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, however, this association treats people of both the new states as one.  We are one big Telugu speaking family, Ms Bhoompelly asserted.

 It is important to note that this is the third major event hosted by the Association since the beginning of this year.

“In the span of less than two months, NZTA has already conducted three big events for the community Sankranthi, Holi and now Ugadi,” Association’s media spokesperson Suneel Kuncha told The Indian Weekender.

“This year we have elected first woman President of our Association.

“Times are changing, and it is history in making how more and more women are coming forward to share the responsibility of running an association this big,” Mr Kuncha added.

Hon. Consul of India in Auckland Bhav Dhillon and his wife Ruby Dhillon were invited as chief guests to the event. The guests enjoyed the grandeur of traditional Telugu dances, songs and plays along with the members of the community.

In his speech, Mr Dhillon congratulated the community for having the first female president and acknowledged the importance of such events that bring the community together as one big family.  Community leaders such as Jeet Suchdev from Bhartiya Samaj, Nilima Venkat from Shanti Niwas, Jyothi Mallikarjun Reddy from Telangana Jagruthi, were also present at the event.

NZTA felicitated Dr Padma Govardhan for her achievements in getting her doctorate in music in New Zealand. Mr Govardhan is the principal of Bharathi Music School, and has trained over 200 students in Carnatic music and has been providing the community with the talent. NZTA also felicitated Kalpana Venkat for her dedication to Shanti Niwas and Jyothi Mallikarjun Reddy for her contribution through Telangana Jagruthi New Zealand.

Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor remembered:

One big part of the entertainment provided at the event remembered the work of legendary actress Sridevi Kapoor who passed away earlier in February. The team prepared a medley of famous Sridevi’s film’s songs which were performed by a young dancer of age four to a senior citizen in the community. Senior female members from Shanti Niwas also wowed the audience.