Wellington Diwali – empowering multicultural communities

The Wellington Diwali Festival 2018 returns to the TSB and Shed 6 venues, Wellington Waterfront, on Sunday, October 28, from 1.30 pm to 9.30 pm. Entry by Gold coin.

Produced by the non-profit Communities Action Trust NZ (CATNZ), and brought to the capital by the Wellington City Council, this year’s Diwali to be held on the coming weekend promises to be bigger, better, engaging, inclusive, and very multicultural.

Murali Kumar, who is the Operations and Events Manager at CATNZ, and the main brain behind the event informed, “We will be featuring about 150 performers, carrying out over 70 acts over a period of eight hours. This year, we are very excited to see participation from the wider Wellington region. Major highlights will include several pop-up acts [flash mobs] spread during the day, and an exhibition of lights.”

Additionally, as part of the festival’s international participation, the Kalehri Art and Culture Academy from the Indian state of Punjab, which mesmerised the crowds at Auckland Diwali during the labour weekend, will also be performing again in the capital on Sunday.

On the question whether Wellington Diwali will see some cultural elements of the festival as well, Kumar added, “I really admire and appreciate the way capital’s Diwali has evolved from a religious festival, to a spiritual, then a cultural, to now a social occasion. Still the event would be non-alcoholic and completely vegetarian, with a priest starting the proceeding welcoming the guests on the day.”

Kumar also shared a bit about his over 17 years of experience in such events. “I started as an artist, then moved to emceeing, and later got into producing events. After we established CATNZ in 2008, one of our first major successes was the South East Asian Night Market – a first of a kind event in Wellington - in which six embassies were involved, and thousands attended.”

Notably, Kumar was also involved in the just concluded Auckland Diwali – the biggest Indian festival in New Zealand – as in-charge of the street activation programmes [all street acts] spread over two days.

Finally, on the question of what he wants to add to future Wellington Diwalis, he noted, “Every year the event is supported by the Wellington City Council. Moving on, we would like private businesses in and around the region, and from across New Zealand, to start pitching in as well, in terms of sponsorships. This is the second biggest Indian event in New Zealand providing a great opportunity to advertise your services. We want to spread this message across.”