Kiwi-Pakistanis celebrate Independence Day in big numbers
(picture caption: celebrations by PANZ in Auckland on August 19; all pictures in this story are courtesy PANZ)
Kiwi-Pakistanis all across the country came together last week to celebrate the country’s Independence Day, which falls on August 14, every year.
The celebrations kicked off in Auckland on August 19, with the Pakistan Association of New Zealand (PANZ), organising a day-long event at the King’s College in Otahuhu. There were cultural stalls showcasing Pakistani culture, and few cultural performances including the bhangra.
Ali Ather, President of PANZ, informed, “Almost 2,000 people from across the wider community attended our event, which is our biggest annual celebration. Among the dignitaries present at the event, notables were MPs Deborah Russell, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, and Michael Wood. Our chief guest was Syed Moazzam Hussain Shah, Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan to New Zealand.”
Overall, there are almost 10,000 Pakistanis living in New Zealand right now, out of which 6,000 reside in Auckland, he added.
Informing about the year-round activities of PANZ, Ather said, “We run - student support groups, open networking sessions, free legal and career advise clinics, as well as women engagement programmes. Besides, we also organise various sports tournaments for our members including cricket, table tennis, pool, and badminton.”
Similar such celebrations took place in Christchurch as well, on August 25, where almost 200 people gathered to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day as well as Eid’ul Adha together. It was organised by the Pakistani Association of Canterbury (PACNZ). Kalim Ullah, a member, noted, “We said Eid prayers together, followed by children performing a skit depicting our fight against the British rule, with the evening ending with a lavish Pakistani dinner.”
“Our next event will be a squash tournament among our members, which is a very popular sport in Pakistan,” he concluded.