Third time is the charm after covid-19 thwarted UHMCC's attempts two years in a row to host a Diwali celebration for Upper Hutt.
This year, a sell-out event took place at Whirinaki Whare Taonga in central Upper Hutt on Sunday 9th October 2022. The theme was a Multicultural Diwali with the motto "Mana Ōrite - respect and equality for all". UHMCC was delighted to host, including special guests such as the Upper Hutt Mayor, local councillors and MP Chris Hipkins, the Race Relations Commissioner and the acting Indian High Commissioner and Secretary.
The evening featured displays of Rangoli, many dance and musical performances, a complimentary meal and sweets, community awards and a fun inclusive fashion show. The evening was opened in true Huarahi Hou (Tiriti-based Multiculturalism) style, with both a karakia and kapa haka, and the lighting of a traditional Diwali lamp.
Community Awards were given to the Luo Community, the NZ Sikh Society of Wellington, Brewtown, Orongomai Marae, Joe Hamiora from Orongomai, and UHCC Director of Community Services Mike Ryan. These are awards were given in recognition of contributions to the wellbeing and success of Upper Hutt communities.
Many volunteers had the opportunity to wear a saree for the first time, with the message that the saree is not just for people of Indian background, but can be worn as formal cultural attire by anyone. The volunteers said it was a learning curve to dress, but a beautiful experience.
UHMCC is grateful to everyone for contributing to a warm and lively atmosphere and looks forward to returning for Diwali 2023. The full photo album can be found here at UHMCC's facebook page.