16 November 2023 at 11:00 am

Diwali celebrations light up New Zealand campuses

Education providers and international students came together to host Diwali celebrations on campus during the almost week-long festival of lights from 10-14 November.  

Diwali henna at Wintec Te Pukenga
Students getting henna patterns on their hands as part of Wintec | Te Pūkenga Diwali celebrations.

It was a wonderful week of Diwali across New Zealand campuses as students and education institutions came together to celebrate the festival of lights.  

AUT lights up for Diwali 

The sights, sounds and colours of Diwali were on full display at AUT’s recent Diwali Festival.   

With the largest cohort of international students from India in New Zealand, AUT’s Diwali Festival celebrated the incredible contribution Indian students make to life at AUT.   

Pro Vice-Chancellor International, Professor Guy Littlefair, said the event enriches their campus culture and showcases the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.   

“Our incredible Diwali event was a wonderful opportunity for our entire university to celebrate our Indian students and the richness and joy of Indian culture,” Professor Littlefair said.   

“We are proud of our growing reputation throughout India for our wide range and quality of study programmes, for being the university of technology in New Zealand, and for our great student support, accessibility to academic staff, employability, and student success.   

“India is an extraordinarily important partner country to us, but more importantly our Indian students are an extremely valued part of our AUT family and the unique perspective and rich culture they bring to us are treasured by all our staff and students.”  


Students lead Diwali celebrations at Wintec | Te Pūkenga 

Diwali 2023 performers, organisers, volunteers, and audience all enjoyed the celebrations at Wintec | Te Pūkenga City Campus, including International Student Services Advisors, Unmesha Veetil (far left) and Li Li (front row with orange sari).

This year, the Diwali celebrations at Wintec | Te Pūkenga City and Rotokauri campuses were completely ākonga (student)-led, making them even more special than usual. Although facilitated by the International Student Support team, the events were entirely hosted by ākonga, from the MCs to all the entertainment.  

Unmesha Veetil, International Student Services Advisor, said the events were vibrant and high energy and a real testament to the students.  

“The MCs did a great job of engaging the audience and getting them singing along, the dance performances and magic tricks were stunning and there were even talented students doing henna designs. On the request of the audience there was a final open dance floor which got many from the audience dancing too and proved lots of fun.”

A crowd enjoying a Diwali dance performance at Wintec | Te Pūkenga

The true spirit of the festival was also on full display as a diverse, multicultural communities organised the festivities with much generosity and kaitiakitanga.   

Members of the Chinese Postgraduate Society who volunteered as ecowarriors for the Auckland Diwali Festival.

The Chinese Postgraduate Society volunteered for the Auckland Diwali Festival as eco warriors, helping make the celebration as eco-friendly as possible. 

“It was a great experience for us to immerse in a different culture and make valuable contributions,” Wilson Pan, President of the Chinese Postgraduate Society said.  

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