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Auckland businessman awarded one of India's top honours

An Auckland businessman has been awarded one of India's top honours for his contribution to New Zealand-India relations and for his community work.

Bhav Dhillon moved to New Zealand 15 years ago and was recently awarded the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman (Overseas Indian Award).

The award acknowledges significant contributions made by global citizens of Indian-origin.

Past New Zealand-based recipients include Sir Anand Satyanand, former Dunedin mayor Sukhi Turner and Member of Parliament Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi.

Mr Dhillon is the managing director of construction company CEMIX, the chair of There's a Better Way Foundation, is on the board and treasurer of the India NZ Business Council and is the Honorary Consul of India.

He is also the publisher of the Indian community's only English language weekly newspaper The Indian Weekender.

He said the award was a tremendous honour.

"It is one of the highest honours a member of the Indian diaspora can receive and I am humbled and grateful to have been given this award."

"We've got nearly 250,000 people of Indian origin - 80 percent of them live in Auckland - and my role as Honorary Consul I have to provide them services and look after them whenever they're in need. We have a large student population here as well from India who need a lot of support."

He said working with business and government in both countries to strengthen trade relations was an important part of his work.

"India and NZ have a very good bilateral relationship. There's a lot of shared love but it can always be better so we're working hard on the trade side... India is the fastest growing economy in the world now and we want to take this relationship to the next level."

He was presented with the award by India's president Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday in a ceremony at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh under the "excellence in business and services to the Indian diaspora" category.

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