Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Council sees light on Diwali

Auckland has held Diwali festivals since 2002. Photo / Chris Loufte
Auckland has held Diwali festivals since 2002. Photo / Chris Loufte

An advisory group has been set up to help organise Auckland's Diwali after last year's fiasco.

The 2015 event was criticised as disrespectful to Hindi practice after the Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development held it on a date that clashed with Navratri, a nine-night observance sacred to Hindi women.

Some in the Indian community described the clash of dates as having Christmas celebrations on Good Friday.

Manukau Indian Association president Veer Khar said it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. "Some sense prevailed and Ateed started engaging with the community leadership and it was decided to put in an advisory group in place," said Khar.

"This is a welcome step. A good thing about this exercise is that the lack of community consultation has been recognised."

Khar said the wider Kiwi Indian community was ignored by organisers and commercial traders used Diwali for "money generation".

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, follows the lunar calendar and falls this year on October 30. The preferred date for Auckland's festival in the CBD would be the closest weekend to that date.

Charmaine Ngarimu, Ateed's head of major events, said meetings were held with community representatives last year.

"The advisory group will provide highly valuable advice, including feedback on event development and future growth strategies."

Diwali is an ancient festival that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and the renewal of life.

Auckland has held Diwali festivals since 2002.

It is the city's second biggest ethnic event behind the Lantern Festival.

- Herald on Sunday

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