Every Monday, the Chronicle fires 10 questions at a local to find out what makes them tick. This week Liz Wylie put some questions to Multicultural Council of Rangitīkei/Whanganui president Pushpa Prasad.
How has your summer been so far and have you had a holiday?
It's been really great and busy with visitors (family and friends) and working with people in the community to maintain balance in life even though there are a lot of restrictions due to the pandemic.
You have been involved with Multicultural Council for several years now; do you think Whanganui and Rangitīkei have grown in cultural awareness?
Yes, I am noticing a big shift in people's thinking about culture and tradition. Back in the day people, particularly migrants, were shy due to various reasons. Now I encourage ethnic communities to continue practicing and share what they have to enrich the wider community.
What has been your impression of how people have adapted to Covid-19 restrictions during the past two years?
Initially, people were very concerned and scared about the unknown virus that was spreading like fire around the world. Once they got to grips [with it], most eligible people are vaccinated and are trying to live a normal life, taking this as a way of life now. I found most of them are doing really well now apart from those who have different views of the vaccines.
What were your highlights in 2021?
Despite the pandemic, we had a very successful year where we were able to connect with the communities. The highlights were Race Unity Week and Fest & Feast and several potluck dinners hosted successfully.
What are you reading right now?
Currently, I am into my scriptures which are in my mother tongue to strengthen my spiritual beliefs.
What is the best book you've ever read?
I love reading books based on different cultural backgrounds. The best one was Samira and Samir by Siba Shakib, where a father raised a daughter like a boy. It was okay until this girl Samira became an adolescent ... leave the rest to your imagination.
Which real or fictional person would you like to invite home for dinner and what would you like to ask them?
The Prime Minister and ask her how she can manage and keep her head above water.
What are the things you enjoy most about living in Whanganui?
I love the awa and the moana and where I live. My home faces the river.
When you host visitors from out of town, where do you like to take them?
I take them to the Durie Hill tower, Mainstreet, Winter Gardens at Virginia Lake, Bason Reserve, Kai Iwi, and Castlecliff beaches, Shane's Greenhouse, and Westmere gardens in summer.
What is your dearest wish for 2022?
End of this pandemic so that everything becomes normal and we all get our freedom back to travel and visit places and get overseas visitors to boost our economy.