New Zealand Parliament opened its doors to a new tradition of celebrating the Indian festival of colours, Holi. The corridor of the parliament building was bustling with festivities where the parliament staff graciously welcomed guests dressed in colourful traditional attire. The highlight of the event was the presence of honourable Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who participated in the celebrations and also addressed the gathering.

Holi is celebrated in all of India where people from all walks of life come together in playful, joyous gathering and throw colours at each other. It signifies the victory of good over evil and for many its a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.

The Prime Minister, special guests and other ministers were welcomed by traditional Indian Teeka ceremony and were also presented a traditional shawl. Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa, was dressed in traditional Indian attire. 

Over 200 guests of Indian origin gathered at the New Zealand Parliament to celebrate Holi. The event was hosted at The Banquet Hall in the main Parliament building on 20th March 2018. Along with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the other guests were Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa, MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan, High Commissioner to India His Excellency Sanjiv Kolhi,  New Zealand Indian Central Association Vice President Paul Patel, Vanisa Dhiru- President of the National Council of Women and many other ministers of parliament. 

Radha Raman, a student of Natraj School of Dance, performed Bharatnatyam dance, an Indian classical form of dance in praise of Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles. The dance was choreographed by Prabha Ravi, founder and director of Natraj School of Dance. A special Bollywood dance performed by a group of young dancers from Shivam dance academy. This dance showcased the fun, vibrant, mischievous nature of the Holi.

Prime Minister Ardern addressed the gathering and spoke about the significance of Holi in New Zealand Indian community, the friendly relationship New Zealand and India shares and her invitation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit New Zealand.

Minister Jenny Salesa also addressed the gathering and thanked everyone for attending the event. New Zealand Indian Central Association Vice President Paul Patel in his speech presented a silver rattle to Prime Minister as traditional Indian baby shower ritual called ‘Godh Bharai’ where everyone blesses the baby and presents gifts to pregnant mother.

Toward the end of the formal celebrations, the Prime Minister also mingled with a few guests and happily agreed to get few selfies clicked. The event concluded with the informal interaction opportunity over some light Indian high tea, which everyone enjoyed and made the most of by discussing issues/concerns, clicking pictures/taking selfies with the ministers.