History was created in New Zealand when a postage stamp on Mahatma Gandhi – the world-renowned leader of civil rights, equality and non-violence – was launched in Auckland Diwali Festival on Saturday, October 20.
The stamp was launched by Mayor Phil Goff at the official ceremony for inaugurating Auckland Diwali Festival at the Aotea Square.
The ceremony was also graced by the presence of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa, Leader of Opposition Simon Bridges, High Commissioner of India Sanjiv Kohli and Hon. Consul of India Bhav Dhillon.
The Government of India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of their greatest son, who is also fondly called as the Father of the Nation, and coordinating celebratory activities around the world to mark the occasion.
In that regard, Auckland had already hosted a “Global March for Peace” last month commemorating Gandhi’s birth anniversary whereby about two thousand people had marched across the Queen Street and received by Mayor Phil Goff at the Aotea Square Centre to promote the values of peace and non-violence.
Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion of the Auckland Diwali Festival, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged the global celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi.
“Celebrations this year of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is an incredible opportunity for us to teach our young ones and next generations about the contributions he made to the world,” the Prime Minister said.
“He was a shining light. His message to the world was of kindness, peace, and generosity of spirit. Some of those messages are still relevant today.
“He was famous for saying the future depends on what you today.
“It is such an important message for New Zealand in current times as we, as a diverse nation, can be the shining light to the world,” Ms Ardern said.
Mayor Phil Goff also acknowledged the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and his gift of the values of peace and non-violence to humanity.
“I want to acknowledge Mahatma Gandhi for his enduring promotion of the values of social justice, truth, and non-violence. It’s my great pleasure to use this occasion to ask the Indian High Commissioner and the Hon Consul of India to come forward so that we can launch for the first time in New Zealand history a postage stamp of Mahatma Gandhi,” Mr Goff announced.
The announcement was met with loud cheers from a largely Kiwi-Indian crowd at the Diwali Festival.
The fact that Gandhi’s postage stamp was released at New Zealand’s biggest Indian event – Diwali festival – was also an excellent statement of Kiwi magnanimity and multiculturalism.