Zealand Prime Minister Launches GOPIO Chapters on October 4, 2008
A gala dinner banquet at 5-star Stamford Plaza Hotel in Auckland
on October 4, 2008 was a historic occasion for GOPIO International
when Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, officially launched
GOPIO New Zealand.
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Besides the Chief Guest Helen Clark, her two cabinet colleagues,
Education Minister Chris Carter and Trade Minister Phil Goff were
the guests of honor. Other dignitaries attending the function included,
Parliament Member Lockwood Smith, India Trade Group Chairperson
Dr. Richard Worth, Human Resource Commissioner Joris de Bres, Deputy
Chief of Mission Kunal Roy of Indian Embassy, Judge Ajit Singh and
former chief commissioner of the Families Commission Dr. Rajen Prasad.
International President Inder Singh specially went from USA
and Regional Vice President Noel Lal flew from Australia to participate
in the event. Many prominent members of the Indian community from
New Zealand also attended the gala event.
In welcoming the prime minister, Inder Singh thanked her for voting,
as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, in favor of India. He
urged the prime minister to ensure enforcement of law and order
as recent attacks on four Indian retail stores has shaken the confidence
of the community.
Inder Singh thanked host Harish Bajaj for his leadership, dedication
and commitment in initiating multiple GOPIO chapters. He also thanked
Ashok Bhatia, Davinder Singh Rahal, Dr. Karan Sahrawat, Manjit Singh,
Naresh Shukla, Rajiv Pandey, Rakesh Gupta, Rohini Jagmohan, Virinder
Aggarwal, and Suman Kapoor for their leadership of their respective
The prime Minister complimented GOPIO International for starting
New Zealand chapter thereby linking the Indian community with the
Global Indian diaspora. She gave certificates to all the ten chapter
presidents and complimented them for their leadership initiative.
Indians in New Zealand trace their beginning to the arrival of
two brothers Bir Singh Gill and Phuman Singh Gill who went to New
Zealand in or about 1890 from Australia. Today, New Zealand has
about 120,000 NRIs/PIOs, about 3% of the New Zealand population
of 4 million.
Governor General Anand Satyanand is a New Zealand born PIO and
is the first Asian to hold that high position.