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New 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.

GOPIO 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 chapters.

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.





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