Fans of Diwali and Santa can breathe a sigh of relief, life at Hunter’s Corner in Papatoetoe has been saved by urgent Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board decisions.
Diwali celebrations can go ahead later this month and Father Christmas will make the parade after board members swung into action to help fund two of the area’s most-loved events.
It seems when Santa’s little helpers’ application for a board grant was considered, members needed more information, while Diwali funding was held up to clarify some budget matters.
Board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia says because more information was needed, funding for the events couldn’t be secured.
“We have had to invoke our ‘urgent decision-making powers’- a kind of a super-power that allow us to allocate budget to important things without waiting for a business meeting.”
“And we can’t think of anything more important than guaranteeing Santa can make an appearance, or that our Indian community get to acknowledge a cornerstone of their culture.”
“Both events are a huge part of life in our area, and it’s great to have been able to ensure they can go ahead without anyone having to worry about how they are going to be financed.”
Hunters Corner Town Centre Society has been granted $15,000 towards Diwali celebrations, and the Papatoetoe Main Street Society $25,000 towards the 6 December Santa Parade.
Diwali - also Divali - is one of the major religious festivals in Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. It takes its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indian families light outside their homes to symbolise the inner light that protects against spiritual darkness.
“The festival is hugely important to our Indian community,” Autagavaia says. “And our Indian families are a vital part of our community, so helping guarantee a festival that is every bit as important as the Christmas season is to Christians, is special.”
“That said, poor old Santa has a lot on at Christmas and has to be able to rely on those he needs help from to get things like clowns and balloons, floats and sweets, dance groups, bands and entertainers ready for when he makes a flying visit.”