Diwali celebrations in Franklin took on a new look this year with dance programme graduates providing entertainment for a large crowd at the Town Hall.
Franklin Community Hub staff were keen to get behind Diwali and as part of their efforts, the Bollywood Bhangra dance programme was offered to empower young people – and in some cases not so young – to learn from the Punjabi Indian culture and build confidence through dance.
Franklin Community Hub manager Melody Osborn says the numbers taking part were a bit of a surprise, with a good number of people enrolling from within Franklin’s significant Indian community, but also with enrolments from the wider community keen to learn new skills.
“We owe a great deal of thanks to the tutor and local, Arshdeep Kaur, who was magnificent throughout. We might not be quite ready to tackle Bollywood yet, but the engagement from the community was wonderful to see.”
According to the 2018 Census, Franklin has a significant Indian population, particularly in Pukekohe, so much so that Punjabi and Hindi are in the area’s six most widely spoken languages. The Indian community is so well-established here that many people can trace their Franklin roots for several generations.
“It was great to see so many people turn up for the celebrations. We hadn’t really expected anything like the numbers we got, so obviously we were delighted because the whole idea was to empower and encourage people to learn about other cultures, embrace dance as a form of art, and celebrate diversity in Franklin.”
The Franklin Community Hub team is based at Franklin: The Centre, where it brings library, art and community activities together. It offers everything from books, magazines, council services, exhibitions and the art gallery, and moulds those elements into its programmes and outreach services.