The Government of India as a part of its initiative to expand outreach in New Zealand has appointed Bhav Dhillon – a businessman of repute - as the new Honorary Consul in Auckland.
Dhillon's official jurisdiction will cover Auckland district, Northland and Waikato region with residence in Auckland.
"Mr Dhillon's appointment will strengthen the High Commission's outreach in these three regions," a press release from the office of Indian High Commission said.
"It will also add strength to activities relating to the welfare of the Indian community including Indian students and in the promotion of commercial and cultural links between India and New Zealand."
Dhillon is managing director of CEMIX, which is an iconic brand that has been in New Zealand for over 30 years and is a market leader, manufacturing innovative construction products with a nationwide presence.
He is also chair of There's a Better Way Foundation which works alongside NZ Police, Auckland Council and other like-minded organisations for creating pathways for positive change among kiwi youth at risk of gang culture and drugs.
Dhillon has also been closely involved in India-New Zealand relationship in his capacity as Treasurer India NZ Business Council (INZBC) – a premier trade organisation in New Zealand working for the last 25 years to build trade relations between India and New Zealand.
He has twice accompanied the Prime Minister of New Zealand on his trips to India and has been significantly involved with all incoming high-level ministerial visits from India to NZ.
The Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand, Sanjiv Kohli, acknowledged the role played by Dhillon in promoting India-New Zealand bilateral relationship along with reaching out to the Kiwi-Indian community in New Zealand.
"I have personally seen Mr Dhillon doing so much to promote India New Zealand relationship," Kohli told the Indian Weekender newspaper.
"He has also been a great support in our community-centric activities.
"We are sure his appointment will provide further momentum to our engagement and diaspora related activities in Auckland district, Northland and Waikato," Mr Kohli told The Indian Weekender.
Mr Dhillon has been in New Zealand for the last 15 years and is also Director of four other companies having varied interests in media, publishing and property. Before that, he was based in Singapore. Mr Dhillon has broad international experience of travelling and doing business in Singapore, Finland, Germany, Holland, Middle East, USA, UK, India, Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Kiwi-Indian MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi also acknowledged the appointment of Dhillon as Honorary Consul of India as a mark of increasing role of the Indian diaspora in managing New Zealand-India bilateral relationship.
"Mr Dhillon has been investing a lot of energy in New Zealand-India bilateral relationship.
"I am confident that with his excellent relationship with both the governments, he will be instrumental in enhancing the relationship between our both nations," Mr Bakshi said.
Dhillon acknowledged the immense responsibility entrusted by the Government of India.
"I am humbled by this responsibility bestowed upon me by the Government of India and wish to thank Government of India and the High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli.
"This appointment will reinforce my commitment to help and provide support to the members of Indian community within the consular jurisdiction of Northland Auckland and Waikato," Dhillon said.