for the love of andhra pradesh and beyond
Andhra Pradesh Formation Day, an event commemorating the birth of the south Indian state, turned into a grand celebration in New Zealand.
At the event organised by the diaspora organisation Mana Andhra Telugu Association - New Zealand (MATA NZ) on October 28, about 450 people gathered to rejoice in their shared heritage.
The event at MATA's AGA Hall in Auckland’s Grey Lynn was a colourful and culturally rich affair, marked by various dignitaries, performances and awards.
The event saw an impressive lineup of dignitaries, including Honorary Consul of India in Auckland Bhav Dhillon, who extended warm wishes to the people of Andhra on this special day.
In his address, he paid tribute to the extraordinary role played by Andhra women in India's freedom struggle. He noted the first person to defy British colonial rule was a brave lady from the Andhra Pradesh region. This acknowledgement of their historical contributions resonated strongly with the audience.
The event was also graced by the presence of MPs Melissa Lee from National and Labour’s Helen White– both contested against each other from Mt Albert in the recent elections–and they expressed their heartfelt wishes to the community.
White said in a social media post, “I had the pleasure of hanging out with Melissa Lee and watching some incredibly beautiful dancing celebrating Andhra Pradesh formation day. We got to dance away ourselves.”
Dr Reginald Samuel, President of MATA NZ, welcomed the gathering and introduced the core committee, emphasising the importance of celebrating Andhra Pradesh Formation Day and preserving the rich culture and heritage of the region.
A standout moment of the evening was the presentation of MATA NZ Excellence Award for 2023. Dr Reginald Samuel announced the award was bestowed upon Anuradha Ramkumar, founder and creative director of Anuradha's School of Indian Dances, for her remarkable contributions to arts and culture. The honour was presented by both Lee and White
The evening was not only about speeches and awards; it also showcased the vibrant Andhra culture through exemplary dance performances. The festivities concluded with a sumptuous traditional Andhra dinner, offering a flavourful taste of the state's culinary delights.
Reflecting on the event, Samuel remarked, "It was a great evening. Telugu people throughout New Zealand attended the event, coming together to celebrate our shared culture and values.”
Andhra Pradesh Formation Day is celebrated on November 1 every year to commemorate the formation of the state of Andhra Pradesh on November 1, 1956
Interestingly, eight Indian states celebrate their birthday on November 1: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu.
Samuel maintained MATA NZ celebrates this day to remember and recollect the sacrifices made by their leaders. "We also celebrate this to let the younger generation know about how our state was formed and how we try to preserve our culture.
“As Andhra Pradesh marks another year of its formation, we wanted to cherish the unity in diversity and progress achieved by the state."