On April 23, 2023, Auckland’s Malayali community celebrated the traditional Malayali New Year Vishu.
The Organization of Hindu Malayalis New Zealand (OHM NZ), one of the emerging community organizations of Malayali Hindus in Aotearoa, organized the event, which was held at Sai Sansthan Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir in Onehunga.
The celebration commenced with the traditional Vishukkani, an arrangement of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and a traditional lamp, a symbolic harbinger of prosperity, followed by various cultural programs, including classical dances, songs, and skits, showcasing the rich art and cultural heritage of the Malayali community. The event was attended by over 500 people, including community leaders, dignitaries, and families, who relished a sumptuous 22-course traditional Malayali vegetarian feast called Sadya, prepared and served by volunteers from the community who worked tirelessly for days to ensure the dishes were perfectly prepared. Guests also had the opportunity to view an exhibition of artwork created by children from the community.
Hon Consul of India in Auckland Bhav Dhillon graced the event as a special guest and commended the community for preserving and promoting the richness of Kerala’s culture and traditions in a foreign land. Other dignitaries who attended the event included former parliamentarian Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Auckland Malayali Samajam President Blessan M Jose, and NZ Telugu Association President Suneel Kuncha.
OHM NZ President Sasi Nambissan expressed his gratitude to all the volunteers, sponsors, and attendees who contributed to the event’s success and emphasized that Vishu is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. It is a festival that brings families together, strengthens social ties, and celebrates the values of love, peace, and harmony. Nambissan said the overwhelming response to the event was heartening, and traditional festivals like Vishu unite the community and remind them of their roots and culture. It is also an opportunity for the young Kiwi-Malayali generation to experience tradition and culture without losing its values.