New Gurudwara Sahib in Auckland, New Zealand Sunday 20th March, 2005 Yashpal Kaur - Panthic Weekly Staff
Auckland, New Zealand (KP) - New Zealand welcomed its largest Gurudwara sahib on March 10th. Almost 20,000 people attended the inauguration event of the new gurudwara sahib here at Takanini.
A motorcade of 7000 people brought Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from Otahuhu Gurudwara Sahib on Thursday. An estimated 12,000 people arrived on Friday and Saturday for keertan (hymn singing) and prayers.
Daljit Singh, president of the New Zealand Sikh Society, said the new place of worship is the culminating result of one year in planning and two years building. Three years ago, Prime Minister Helen Clark had attended the ground breaking ceremony and said she was waiting for the day when it would be completed.
The complex includes a parking lot, playing fields, housing for priests, langar hall, community library and a museum. The gold-plated dome cost $250,000. Money for this gurudwara sahib was raised from the Sikh community and Mr. Singh said a further $5,000,000 will be raised for guest accommodation, a gymnasium and an eight-room Sunday school which could evolve into a primary school.
Shastars belonging to Guru Hargobind Sahib ji were brought from India and were exhibited at this event as well.
Papakura Mayor John Robertson said he welcomes the establishment of the gurudwara and looks forward to an increasing number of Sikhs contributing as community members and investors in commerce.
Prime Minister Helen Clark acknowledged the contributions of the Sikh community to New Zealand and congratulated them on this occasion. She was given a tour of the museum and briefed on Sikh history, the role of Sikhs in World Wars, and the state sponsored genocide in Punjab during the 1980s.
Afterwards, the sangat watched an international Kabaddi tournament in the playing fields. Two Indian teams and an Australian team traveled here to play a New Zealand team.
Sikhism was introduced to New Zealand 110 years ago. The Sikh population in Auckland has grown from 100 in 1982 to more than 12,000, with gurudwaras in Otahuhu, Papatoetoe and Bombay.
There are five other gurudwaras in Auckland but they were built because of geographical reasons, indicating that the sangat is united. The grand opening was attended by high profile figures including the Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Simranjit Singh Maan, Bhai Ravinder Singh (Sri Harimandir Sahib), Bhai Harjinder Singh (Sri Nagar), Baba Daya Singh, Avtar Singh, Gurnam Kaur (mother of shaheed Bhai Harjinder Singh Jinda), the elder brother of shaheed Bhai Satwant Singh, approximately three dozen ministers, MP’s, mayors, councilors and many others were also in attendance.
For more pictures: http://www.nzrotaries.com/gudwara/