The triumph of light over darkness will be celebrated in Rotorua with Diwali festivities taking place throughout the remainder of the week.

The origins of Diwali, also known as The Festival of Lights or Deepavali, is as a Hindu religious festival celebrating the god Rama's homecoming to the kingdom of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile.

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology is the first to celebrate the Festival of Lights (Deepavali) when the amphitheatre at the institute's Mokoia Campus will be awash with colour, sound and smells.

Toi Ohomai head of business Peter Richardson said the institute had been celebrating Diwali in Rotorua for more than 10 years and, for the past two years, at the Tauranga campus.


The event features traditional Indian food, dance, henna tattoos and more.

"Students start preparing for the festival well in advance and put on a real spectacle," Richardson said. "We get sponsorship from local business for food and prizes."

The best-dressed man and woman are recognised on the day.

Diwali will also be celebrated at the Rotorua Night Markets on Thursday.

Everyone is invited to join the Festival of Lights celebration that begins at 6.30pm with the Laxmi Puja (prayer). This will be followed by dancing, singing, and music and folk dance performances from the different states in India.

Entertainment will also come via a Bollywood performance by 5-year-old Saanvi Anand from St Mary's School, Toi Ohomai student Arpit Negi and a Punjabi folk Bhangra performance.

Awards will be handed out for the best-dressed Mr and Mrs/Miss Diwali and parshad (sweets) will be distributed.

On Saturday the BOP (Rotorua) Indian Association will host a members only evening at Gandhi Hall. Association secretary Priti Patel said Diwali was celebrate every year.


"Most members are busy doing their own thing at home on November 7" Patel said. "We normally have between 100 and 150 people at the celebration that starts at 6.30pm and finishes at 11.30pm.

"It's the beginning of a New Year so people are happy, there is always a lot of dancing and eating."