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Tairawhiti celebrates Diwali festival of lights

People of Tairawhiti will once again be entertained by Indian cultural performances, henna art, bouncy castles and free Indian food as the Gisborne Indian community prepares to host the annual festival of lights celebrations.

The event will be held on Gisborne Girls’ High School grounds on Sunday, from 11.30am to 2pm.

A koha is appreciated on entry but not required.

Tairawhiti Multicultural Council president Arish Naresh said the Festival of Lights, or Diwali, was equivalent to Matariki and marked the beginning of the new year in the Hindu calendar.

“The festival is celebrated in many parts of the world and we are delighted to be able to celebrate with the wider Tairawhiti whanau.”

Mr Naresh said Tairawhiti was the only region in New Zealand where this event, including the provision of meals, was free.

“Eastland Community Trust, Sunrise Foundation and Lotteries Community Grants Scheme have made it possible for us to bring this event free to the people.

“Celebration of this festival allows the Indian community to preserve its language, cultures and traditions but at the same time educate other cultures on what our culture is all about.

“The horrific events in Christchurch have made it even more important for communities to come together and understand the diversity that exists in our communities.”