Gujarati dancers at Diwali festival

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

One of India’s top folk dance groups from Gujarat – original home of many Indian New Zealanders – will perform at the 2009 Diwali Festival of Lights in Wellington on Sunday October 18.

The Saurashtra Lok Kala Kendra dance group will be one of the highlights at this year’s Diwali Festival of Lights at the TSB Arena on Queens Wharf along with other international and local performers.

These visiting Gujarati dancers will be performing the one of India’s best known folk dances – the Dandiya or stick dance. They are in New Zealand with the support of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.

Also on the programme is a visiting puppet group from the famous Rajasthan city of Jaipur. Harji Bhatt and his puppet troupe promise to be colourful, lively and laugh-out-loud funny and sure to appeal to grown-ups and children alike.

Thousands of people are again expected to attend the immensely family friendly Diwali Festival of Lights in Wellington. The festival, which is in its eighth year, is organised by the Asia New Zealand Foundation in partnership with the Wellington City Council.

“We're keen to build on the success of the 2008 festival. It is free to attend and everyone is welcome to share this exciting Indian celebration,” said Asia New Zealand Foundation culture director Jennifer King.

The Diwali Festival of Lights gives the Indian communities the opportunity to share this much-loved cultural tradition with other New Zealanders and their families. The events celebrate not only the traditions of Diwali, but Indian culture as a whole.

Festival-goers can enjoy vegetarian Indian food available from dozens of mouth-watering foodstalls while watching non-stop performances including classical Indian and popular Bollywood dancing.

Ms King says the involvement of Gujarati performers from north-western India will resonate with many in New Zealand’s Indian communities because it is from this part of India that many Indian New Zealanders can trace their family history.

The Diwali Festival of Lights at TSB Arena will begin at 1pm and end with fireworks at 10.30pm.

The Asia New Zealand Foundation Diwali schools programme will also feature performances by the visiting Indian performers in both centres.


Jennifer King
Culture Director

Last updated: 29 Jan 2013