The Gandhi Nivas fundraising dinner with the legendary former All Blacks Sir John Kirwan was doubly successful in putting the spotlight on men’s behaviour and plight during any family violence situation, along with raising awareness about mental health issues in the community.

Seldom do fundraising-dinner events manage to achieve what they initially set out for, forget about overachieving beyond the initial expectations.

This is not to suggest that there is any shortage of patrons to support noble causes that different fundraising dinners and similar events seek to garner. It’s only to remind that we live in a hugely-distracted world which faces an exhaustive array of problems, with limited collective-will and attention to address them.

Against such a backdrop, whenever a fundraising charity event manages to achieve over and beyond than what it initially aspired for, deserves an unapologetic appreciation.

The fundraising dinner hosted by Gandhi Nivas on Saturday, June 30, at Waipuna Lodge, Mt Wellington, Auckland, indeed falls in this category – for not only it managed to get a decent collection of funds along with putting some spotlight on men’s behaviour and plight involved in family violence crisis, but also raised some awareness and sensitivities on mental health issues.

What else one would expect in a rugby match when a free ball is lapped to an unmarked winger, as capable as former All Black Sir John Kirwan, other than a dominated run on the ground and a successful try?.

This was the case when Sir John was called upon the stage to talk about his experiences with mental health issues and the courage to fight back. Sir John lapped the opportunity as if another free pass in a match of rugby and delivered power-packed advocacy around mental health issues in a manner that would dispel so many myths underlying within the community around mental health issues.

Indeed mental health issues, along with the complexity of dealing with men during any family violence crisis are the two issues most conveniently brushed under the carpet within the Indian community – as both seem to affect on the big fat male egos.

However, this was only after Ranjana Patel, one of the founding members behind Gandhi Nivas and the primary host of the evening took everyone on a trip to the memory lane about how the community initiative came into being in 2014.

Gandhi Nivas is a partnership between the Serenity Foundation, New Zealand Police, Total Healthcare PHO and Sahaayta Counselling & Social Support. The service was originally set up to address the problem of family harm in the Indian community but has since then expanded to include people of all ethnicities around Auckland.

The event had generous representation and support of members of NZ police, MPs, community leaders and members of public who had arrived in individual capacity purely to support the cause behind the evening.

Among those who attended the event were the Minister for Ethnic Communities, Jenny Salesa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Michael Wood, Kiwi-Indian MPs, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Dr Parmjeet Parmar, along with National party MPs Denise Lee and Melisa Lee.

There were two main cultural performances – a Bollywood infused semi-Kathak dance and a Samoan dance performance by the dance group XYZ which kept guests thoroughly entertained in the evening.

The auction, which included a list of some great products and services such as a signed portrait of legendary All Blacks Sir Richie McCaw handmade by a policeman, along with luxury holiday package to Queenstown, was the last itinerary of the evening.

In all, it was an entertaining, informative and a fruitful evening, which not only enthralled all those attended but also succeeded in collective a generous sum of $50,000 to go toward supporting Gandhi Nivas.