The Right Honourable John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, was the chief guest at the Mandir Dashabdi Mahotsav celebration at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday, 19 February 2012.
The Prime Minister was greeted at the main door in traditional style by youngsters and then led to the foyer to see the massive decorative rangoli of the Mandir Dashabdi logo created using colourful sea shells. Next, the Honourable Prime Minister met some of the boys and girls who had taken part in the painting competition and praised their efforts. He also viewed the wonderful decorative arti dishes prepared by women devotees. Thereafter, he was warmly welcomed in the assembly with a grand reception.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said, “One of the lasting impressions that I had from my last visit here two years ago is the great belief in education that you have for your young people and the efforts of community spirit that was obviously on display. I saw the young people learning about a range of issues and areas of interest to them. We all want our youngsters to turn out the way in which we want them to and I saw the opportunities that you give them. The guidance and instructions of parents and teachers is very important. I want to congratulate all of you for providing this opportunity”.
Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami presented a memento to the Honourable Prime Minister and wished him success in all his endeavours. The Honourable Prime Minister was accompanied by Hon. Tim Groser, Minister of Trade and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, List MP Manukau East.
The Mandir Dashabdi celebrations concluded with a thoughtful drama that was specially written by the youths. It traced the history of the mandir over the last 10 years, highlighting the visit of Swamishri in 2002, the mandir construction and other memorable events.
Earlier in the day, a Vedic mahapuja was held to mark the 10th Patotsav of the mandir. Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami offered prayers for global harmony. He also congratulated all the devotees for their devotional efforts over the past 10 years and blessed everyone with inner peace, prosperity and progress.