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Colourful Sikh community celebrations in Te Puke

The colours and cultures of India will be on show this weekend as thousands attend the Te Puke Sikh Parade on Saturday 30th September. The street parade is held by the Bay of Plenty Sikh Society and is part of their annual celebrations of the first Sikh Guru. In its fourth year, the parade is expected to retain its unofficial title as one of the town’s most spectacular events.

The expected 3000 attendees will be led by Sewadars, sweepers of the parade, who walk in front to ensure the path is clean for the principal scripture of Sikhism, Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The parade will go through the streets of Te Puke before heading to Gurudwara Temple at Centennial Park to continue celebrations, including free food and drinks for all attendees. It is expected that Sikhs from around the Bay of Plenty and further afield will travel to participate in the event.

Lehmber Singh, Secretary of the Bay of Plenty Sikh Society says, “The Sikh community has put in hours of work to organise the parade and a Diwali Festival later this year. We’re excited to host others to share our culture with them.”

“We are proud to showcase the Gurudwara as a space and invite the community to experience some of our culture,” says Lehmber, “There will be opportunities to see and have a go at Kalarippayattu, one of the oldest and most scientific martial arts in the world and enjoy some traditional foods and drinks.”

After 2018’s great response from local communities, the Bay of Plenty Sikh Society has continued to host their cultural events each year. The benefits of bringing local communities together to experience the Sikh Parade and Diwali Festival have allowed other communities to understand Sikh culture better.

The Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund supported this event and the Diwali Festival, which will take place later this year on 12th November 2023. The fund aims to support inclusion as well as enrich the lives of our communities. The $30,000 granted to event organisers is helping ensure the events can be organised to a high level.

Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights. Sikhs celebrate this festival and call it Bandi Shod Diwas, which is celebrated by lighting up the homes and Sikh temples. The Te Puke Diwali Festival will involve a fireworks display for the wider community come Summer and attendees will be invited back to Gurudwara to experience traditions and enjoy the festival celebrations which are free and open to everyone.

“These events are great displays of colour and culture, showing the diversity of our region and the significance of traditions,” says Alastair Rhodes, Chief Executive of BayTrust.

“Tauranga and the Western Bay are multicultural societies, and we are proud to support events that showcase different cultures to the wider community to make everyone feel at home within the Western Bay,” says Alastair.