A baton will be unveiled during the Raksha Bandhan festival in Auckland this week to celebrate fellowship between Indian and Maori communities.
The baton symbolises unity among various communities and has been crafted by Tane Singh-Lagah - a carver and artist from Ngongotaha, hear Rotorua.
Tane is from Ngati Awa and Ngati Tumatawera on his mother's side and Tuhoe and Indian on his father's side.
He says he was attracted to the project by the inter-cultural festivals and bonding taking place between Hindu and Maori in Rotorua.
"I was impressed by the way Hindu Council of New Zealand engages with Maori community," he says.
"I was really touched by the Hindu-Maori whakawhanaungatanga [getting to know each other] during Rotorua Deepawali festival."
Following this, Tane approached Dr Guna Magesan, general secretary of Hindu Council, suggesting he would like to contribute to enhance Hindu-Maori kinship.
An opportunity arose when the Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations Forum announced the celebration of Raksha Bandhan festival, which venerates womanhood.
Each year this festival is hosted by one of the members of the forum. The host of the the forum will keep the baton for that year.
Tane Singh-Lagah was pleased that the Hindu Council approached him to carve the baton.
"When I saw the design, I knew it will be challenging but I accepted it readily because I want to do something for Indian community to find out little about my Indian side," Tane says.
The Hindu Council has been working with Maori community for more than 12 years and has come across a number of Indo-Maori people in New Zealand.
"We would like Indo-Maori people to feel proud of their heritage - both Indian and Maori," says Dr Guna Magesan.
"We have plans to provide a platform to these people who could bring inter-cultural understanding to a higher level."
The Hindu Council of New Zealand, the first year host of the Forum, will present the baton to New Zealand Hindu Temple Society who will be the host of the Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations Forum in 2011.
Go see it
The Raksha Bandhan festival is on Sunday, August 29, at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre in Newton.