The New Zealand Indian Central Association, the oldest community organisation for the Indian community completed its 92 years by hosting its Annual General Conference in Hamilton.

The association was established in 1926 by three Indian associations such as Auckland, Wellington and ‘Country Section’ to advance the cause of all Indians present in the country be it educational, health, welfare or cultural identity. Today the central body is connected with 18 other associations and has a track history of 92 year’s dealing with the issues concerned to the members of the associations and Kiwi Indians.

The 92nd Annual Conference held at Hamilton Boys School in Hamilton On Saturday, April 21 witnessed 120 delegates from the affiliated branches, associate branch, associate members, life members, merit holders and observers from all over New Zealand to attend the event.

Several members of community organisations and political parties attended the event as chief guests. Senior Advisor Office of Ethnic Community Mary Wilson, Labour List MP Hamilton East Jamie Strange, National MP for Hamilton East David Bennet, Dr Todd Nachowitz and Head of Migrant and Auckland Asian Banking ANZ Bank Jack Hou attended the event.

The 92nd Annual Conference this year saw two community association being inducted as Probationary Associate Members of NZICA. Telangana Association of New Zealand (TANZ) and Auckland Tamil Association (ATA) were inducted as Probationary Associate Members of NZICA at the event. The Wider Representation Committee is working on a new strategy to include more Indian groups into the NZICA.

The event was also an opportunity to award certificates to the broader association members in recognition of their contribution and service towards the Indian community.

NZICA recognised the work of Pritam Kaur from Pukekohe Indian Association, Jayanti Sima of BoP Rotorua Indian Association and Manisha Morar of Wellington Indian Association and presented them with the Community Service Awards.

Bhikhu Bhana of Pukekohe Indian Association, Krishnalal Pragji of BoP Rotorua Indian Association, Chandu Daji and Kanti Bhikha of Auckland Indian Association were acknowledged for attending more than 15 Annual Conferences of NZICA and presented with the Merit Certificates.

Harshad Patel of Auckland Indian Association and Manjit Singh of Pukekohe Indian Association were honoured with NZICA Life Membership for their services to NZICA and the wider Indian community.

The keynote speaker at the event Dr Todd Nachowitz gave a brief account of his research work on the migration of Indians to New Zealand. He added that while the common perception was that Indians arrived in NZ from the 1880s, his research showed that Indian sailors came to NZ in the 1600s.

After a daylong deliberation, Bikhu Bhana of Pukekohe Indian Association was re-elected as the President of NZICA for 2018-19, Paul Patel of Central Districts Indian Association as vice-president, Prakash Biradar as General Secretary, Manisha Morar as Assistant Secretary, and Hansa Naran as the Treasurer.

“Our team is determined to develop a new strategic plan to strengthen its branches and affiliate associations to empower the sizeable population of Kiwis of Indian origin,” media spokesperson from NZICA told The Indian Weekender.

NZICA has been instrumental in representing its members on various areas such as Immigration policies, race relations, health and welfare, law and order for small and medium businesses and maintaining a relationship with the Indian High Commission in Wellington and Indian Consulate in Auckland.