Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust, a non-profit community organisation, hosted the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) on Saturday, October 6 at its centre in Onehunga.

The event acknowledged the presence of more than 250 senior members of the community and dignitaries, community leaders and Members of Parliament who lauded the spirit and work of the senior members toward the community.

“You are a role model for the younger generation of people who look up to you for guidance and insight,” Ms Nilima Venkat said at the event.

Shanti Niwas conducts several activities in a week at its main centre in Onehunga, North Shore branch, its newly established centre in Manurewa, and at Bhartiya Mandir in Balmoral for its senior members.


The activities include dance classes, meditation, learning and practising the English language, fun events, cooking classes and other activities not only to engage but to learn and contribute to the community.

“These activities help the seniors to work together as a team and learn new things and put their time into something useful and productive,” Ms Venkat added.

Members of Parliament from National Party Denise Lee, Kanwalijit Bakshi, Dr Parmejeet Parmar, Michael Wood representing the Labour Party, Honorary Consul of India Bhav Dhillon, Bhiku Bhana from NZICA, Liaison Officers of NZ Police, Rakesh Naidoo representing the NZ Human Rights Commission and Shail Kaushal representing Puketapapa Local Board were present at the event.

Shanti Niwas also conducted its finale event ‘NZ Senior Indian Idol’, a signature singing-talent hunt for the senior members of Shanti Niwas.

NZ Senior Idol was first conducted in 2017 and the second season witnessed much bigger participation in the competition with over 50 seniors lining up for the audition in September.

“We had a huge response for the second season of NZ Senior Idol- as we conducted the audition for 56 seniors for the competition over three days earlier last month. It was very tough for the judges to select a final set of 12 participants for the grand finale,” Ms Venkat added.

Shanti Niwas conducted several rehearsals and trained them under live musicians and mentors preparing them for the grand finale conducted at the IDOP event on Saturday.

“The 12 contestants gave a stellar performance at the finale, and the spectators were spellbound seeing such talents amongst the senior members,” Ms Venkat said.

Abdul Nasir Baig was declared as the winner and Mrs Neela Kadakia as the first runner-up, Mr Girijan Menon was second runner-up and Mrs Meena Phondge was selected as the third runner-up.

“The top 12 contestants had put immense effort and devoted their times for the competition, and other seniors were always there to cheer them and provide them with moral support. This shows an undying spirit of the seniors who are ready to take new challenges given to them,” Ms Venkat added.

The event was supported by Maungakeikei-Tamaki Local Board and Mercury Energy, representatives of which were also present at the event.

“We also acknowledge the efforts and contributions of Naved Ahmed, who was an integral part of Shanti Niwas and has bid adieu to Shanti Niwas to pursue his career into a different organisation and we wish him. He is going to be missed immensely by every one of us,” Ms Venkat told The Indian Weekender.