In a true display of inclusivity and ethnic appreciation, the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is pleased to report the third celebration of Diwali and Annakut in the New Zealand Parliament. The evening celebrations took place on 14 November 2022 and were hosted by Dr Deborah Russell MP from the Labour Party and Melissa Lee MP from National Party. This was a particularly spiritually and emotionally charged event for the BAPS organisation who are celebrating the birth centenary of their spiritual leader Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Prior to the evening programme in the Banquet Hall, volunteers and community members offered obeisance to Pramukh Swami Maharaj outside the New Zealand Parliament building. Children and youth volunteers recited sanskrit verses and prayers for global peace and harmony. Everyone had the opportunity to pay their respects to Pramukh Swami Maharaj by offering flowers to his sacred image.
The evening programme was attended by 150 honored guests, including leading members in the community, members of Parliament and volunteers. The spirit of Diwali is to celebrate the triumph of light, goodness and knowledge over darkness, evil and ignorance. In line with this sentiment and due tothe celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s birth centenary, the event featured the valuable contributions of Pramukh Swami Maharaj to society.
The chief guests included her Excellency Neeta Bhushan from the High Commission of India; Mellissa Lee, National MP; Dr Deborah Russell, MP for New Lynn; Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Hon Michael Wood, Nicola Willis, Deputy Leader of the National Party; Jacqui Dean MP, Mayor Cambell Barry, High Commission of Australia Harinder Sidhu and Sharn Piper, CEO of Attain Sales and Marketing.
All the attendees left with messages and aspirations of love, peace and harmony. The opportunity to hold these celebrations in the New Zealand Parliament is a testament to our accepting and open society. It is a testament to our drive to live in harmony with each other, and it is a reminder to keep mutual affection and support between all of us who proudly call New Zealand our home.

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